Sustainable cork solutions for T&D applications
Cork solutions: A sustainable way to increase the performance of T&D applicationsCork solutions contribute to a more sustainable future and have been used for several years in industries such as aerospace, automotive or power industry..
100% natural, reusable and recyclable, cork is one of the world’s most versatile materials from an environmental, social or economic perspective. Cork solutions contribute to a more sustainable future and have been used for several years in industries such as aerospace, automotive or power industry.
Cork is inherently linked to its ecosystem: the cork oak forest, part of one of the world’s 36 most important ecosystems for the biodiversity conservation - on a par with natural paradises such as the Amazon, the African savannah or Borneo. Cork oak forests serve as an anti-fire barrier, due to cork’s low combustion rate, and play an important role in regulating the hydrological cycle. They also make a fundamental contribution to the air we breathe because they retain carbon dioxide. Studies show that for every ton of cork produced, cork oak forests sequester up to 73 tons of CO2(1).
Although it is a natural raw material, cork has a unique set of technical characteristics that are ideal for diverse industrial applications. Cork is a versatile and unique material due to characteristics such as impermeability to liquids and gases, elasticity and compressibility, thermal and acoustic insulation and resistance to friction. When used for the development of a product, all the environmental advantages associated with this raw material also become an integral part of that product, thus combining the best of two worlds: performance and sustainability.
Better results in a more sustainable way
Amorim T&D cork composite solutions have been designed and specifically tested for transmission and distribution equipment, in order to meet the needs of each application.
Incorporation of cork in the material endows the solution with excellent conformability and reduced lateral expansion, essential characteristics for a good sealing material, since it permits larger contact areas and higher compression rates, ensuring an effective sealing barrier against possible surface imperfections and spillages.
In the case of vibration and noise control solutions, cork plays a significant role in the elastomer and is directly responsible for the damping function, known as the energy loss factor. Amorim T&D solutions can achieve noise reductions of up to 10dBs when combined with Amorim Cork Composites’ four-step prioritization approach in analysis and treatment of "noisy" equipment, which focuses on controlling vibrations before they reach the tank’s structure.
In addition to endowing the material with excellent technical characteristics, cork contributes to the development of a more sustainable product, since the environmental advantages of cork are integrated into the product.
Considering the TD1049 material — a seal recommended for most transformer oils — the amount of cork used in a sheet, measuring 1000x1000mm and 6mm thick, can sequester up to 129.64kg of CO2(2). In the case of vibration control solutions, e.g. the VC2100, a material used as a vibration pad, for a 48 ton transformer that uses 14 vibration pads, measuring 350x350mm and 40mm thick, the cork integrated within the solution retains around 0.7 tons of CO2(2).
Since Amorim T&D solutions can be used in different parts of the system, it is possible to achieve better performance while opting for greater integration of more sustainable materials.
How to begin?
We are currently undergoing a revolution, focused on the transition of different industries to greener products and processes to ensure the sustainability of planet Earth. The T&D industry plays an important role in ensuring the transition to cleaner energy.
Amorim Cork Composites, as part of Corticeira Amorim, contributes to the “Sustainable by Nature” programme, which establishes the group's objectives for 2030. In 2021 it set quantitative goals to be attained by 2030, such as zero carbon footprint (emissions 1 and 2), 100% electricity from renewable sources and zero impact on packaging.
A more sustainable future depends on everyone.
(1) Source: Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA), 2016
(2) Indicative values based on the carbon balance of cork. The carbon balance measures the carbon sequestration fostered by the cork oak forest that corresponds to the amount of cork used in the product.