Wind Turbine Lubrication

Using Lubricants for Wind Turbines

As a source of sustainable, clean energy, wind turbines are growing in popularity. Wind Turbines are made to capture wind kinetic energy and convert it into electricity. But to function at its optimum (i.e., minimizing energy loss), wind turbines need to be properly lubricated.

A wind turbine’s lubrication system is in charge of keeping the machine’s moving parts lubricated and damage-free for between service intervals. In this post, we’ll examine the lubrication requirements of wind turbines in details and talk about how crucial good lubrication is for ensuring peak performance and long-term reliability.

The Basics of Wind Turbine Lubrication

There are many lubrication points for wind turbines. These include generator bearings, pitch bearings, and hydraulic systems. Each component requires a particular type of lubricant to be compatible with its material and operating conditions.

As the turbine’s main component, the gearbox transfers rotational energy from the blades into the generator. It is, therefore, one of the most critical components. To prevent damage and maximize performance, the gearbox must be well-lubricated. Synthetic and mineral-based oils with an EP additive are wind turbine gearboxes’ most commonly used lubricants.

The generator bearings and gearbox need proper lubrication for smooth operation. Depending on the generator’s design, these bearings must be lubricated with synthetic oil or grease.

Pitch and Yaw bearings are critical components of wind turbines. The lubrication requirements for each type of bearing will vary. Blade pitch bearings, for example, require high-temperature resistant grease. On the other hand, Yaw bearings require an oil-based, high-viscosity lubricant to ensure they can withstand high loads.

Hydraulic systems control the pitch and yaw of wind turbine blades. These hydraulic fluids must be compatible with the material and operating conditions of the equipment. Although most of the wind turbines use oil-based hydraulic fluids, some may require other types of lubricants or synthetic oils.

Figure 2. How do Wind Turbines work?

The Importance of Proper Lubrication

The proper lubrication of wind turbines is critical to ensure that they operate efficiently and reliably over their lifetime. Without proper lubrication and an appropriate lubrication system, the moving parts of wind turbines can suffer from increased friction, wear, and tear, leading to costly repairs and maintenance.

In addition to mechanical wear and tear, a lack of proper lubrication can increase energy consumption and reduce power output. For example, if the gearbox is not adequately lubricated, the turbine’s efficiency can be reduced, producing less energy. Moreover, improper lubrication can lead to the formation of contaminants, such as metal particles which can cause significant damage to the equipment.

Regular Maintenance and Monitoring

To ensure that wind turbines are adequately lubricated, it’s essential to conduct regular maintenance and monitoring of the lubrication system. This can involve performing routine oil analysis to find out any contaminants or signs of wear, changing the oil at recommended intervals, and ensuring that the correct lubricant is used for each component.

Wind turbine operators should also monitor the temperature and pressure of the lubrication system to ensure that it’s within the recommended range. Any deviations from these parameters should be investigated to identify and resolve issues impacting the lubrication system’s performance.

In addition to regular maintenance and monitoring, the lubrication system must be designed and installed correctly from the outset. This can involve selecting the appropriate lubricants for each component, ensuring that the system is properly sealed and ventilated, and designing a system that is easy to maintain and allows easy access to the lubrication points for routine maintenance and inspections.

Wind turbine operators should work closely with lubricant suppliers and industry experts to stay up to date on the latest advancements in lubrication technology and best practices. This can help them optimize their lubrication system and improve the efficiency and reliability of their wind turbines over their operational lifetime.

Lubrication 1080P, 2K, 4K, 5K HD wallpapers free download | Wallpaper Flare

Figure 2. Lubricant can.

Precautions to be taken during the selection of lubricant for wind turbine

Selecting the proper lubricant for a wind turbine is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and long-term reliability. Here are some precautions that should be taken during the selection of lubricant for wind turbines:

  1. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications: Wind turbine manufacturers usually provide detailed specifications on the type of lubricant the user should use for each component. Before selecting a lubricant, it’s important to consult these specifications to ensure it meets the requirements.
  2. Consider the operating conditions: The lubricant must withstand the operating conditions of the wind turbine. This includes factors such as temperature, pressure, and speed. The lubricant should handle high loads and temperatures without breaking down or losing its properties.
  3. Compatibility with materials: The lubricant should be compatible with the materials used in the wind turbine components. This includes the gearbox, bearings, hydraulic systems, and other components like oil seals. Using the wrong lubricant can cause damage to the equipment and reduce its lifespan. For example, mineral oil-based lubricants are compatible with most metal machine components, but synthetic lubricants are compatible with plastics, rubber, and other materials that may not be compatible with mineral oil-based lubricants. Also, petroleum-based lubricants are incompatible with some plastics and rubber materials, as they can cause these materials to swell or deteriorate. Some extreme-pressure lubricants contain chemicals that can react with some metal alloys, causing corrosion. Synthetic oils are often preferred for wind turbine lubrication because they offer better performance at high temperatures and under heavy loads. Synthetic oils also have a longer service life and provide better protection against wear and corrosion.
  4. Oil analysis: Regular oil analysis is necessary to detect any contaminants or signs of wear. It helps to identify the problem early and take precautions before any significant damage to the machine elements.
  5. Environmental considerations: Wind turbines are often located in remote and harsh environments, such as offshore locations or deserts. The lubricant must handle these conditions without breaking down or losing its properties.
  6. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for changing intervals: The manufacturer’s recommendations for lubricant changing intervals should be followed to ensure that the lubricant is changed at the right time. Changing the lubricant too soon or too late can cause problems and reduce the lifespan of the equipment.

The article is written by Riya Veluri, an editorial team member of Industrial Lubricants. After her graduation, Riya works as a website developer & SEO specialist in Lubrication & Tribology Industry & writes technical articles on Lubricants, Lubrication, Reliability & sustainability.


  1. Wonder how you can even think of using a lubricant can as shown in Figure 2 when writing an article on wind mill lubrication. That picture could have been apt for a small machine lubrication article- not for a windmill article.

  2. This was a great article ! Thank you. I like the oil can, it’s a nice homage to the past! As long as it’s not galvanized 😉

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