The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Astraeus Wind Energy Inc. (AWE) and MAG Industrial Automation Systems (MAG), have signed an agreement for launching a project that can probably aid in further development of the wind industry. Their initiatives are sponsored by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF).
As per the contract, they will jointly create material-enabled automated production solutions for augmenting the manufacture of the blade constituents and finished blades of the wind turbine, which can potentially result in increased productivity to meet the growing demands of clean energy.
The MSF panel offered an award of $6 million and a position of Centers of Energy Excellence for AWE in order to set up operations with their initial emphasis on the manufacture of spar caps, which is a vital part of a wind turbine blade. Dow, with the assistance of Oak Ridge National Laboratory will utilize this fund for creating and optimizing the material whereas MAG will work on developing an automated system for spar cap production. The long term goal of this partnership is to implement this technology for the manufacture of other parts of the wind turbine and also combining those constituents to develop completed wind turbine blades.
This innovative material-enabled automated technology will provide increased productivity of high-end blade constituents at an affordable price. Hence this method is advantageous when compared to the manual production methods.
Monty Bayer, Global Business Director, Dow Ventures & Business Development, has stated that their company is dedicated in creating novel technologies for enhancing the feasibility of clean energy sources. He added that this partnership will help in the transformation of the emerging wind energy sector.
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm expressed their commitment in making Michigan a place for alternative energy production and this project will enable them to realize their goal and can profoundly increase Michigan’s economy.
It was reported that the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) will focus on increasing wind energy production by 20% in another 20 years which demands huge production of turbines. The major tasks in enhancing the consistency and functioning of wind turbines and the methods of improving the efficiency of the US wind industries are mentioned in the 2008 DOE report.
It was expected that the material assisted automation technology solution will be released in another two years.