Lansing, Mich.-based Astraeus Wind Energy Inc., a new venture from MAG Industrial Automation Systems and Dowding Machining LLC, has received a $7 million grant to develop a wind hub machining cell for high-volume manufacturing, as well as to pursue development of carbon-fiber turbine blades.
Astraeus received the funds through clean energy grants from the state of Michigan. The grant is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The proprietary machining system will be developed by MAG and installed at the Astraeus facility. The system is expected to be in production in late 2010.
‘We intend to transform the manufacturing cost and throughput for turbine components to make wind energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels,’ says Jeff Metts, president of Astraeus. ‘This grant will help us reach one of the key goals of that transformation.’
The hub machining cell is expected to increase production rates from the current standard of one per day to as many as five per day, according to Astraeus.
Astraeus is also negotiating with Dow Chemical Co. to produce a new resin that will complement the lightweight, high-strength characteristics of carbon fiber. Key to the manufacturing process is a new automated lay-up and molding system developed by MAG.