The Dow Chemical Co., Astraeus Wind Energy Inc. (AWE) and MAG Industrial Automation Systems (MAG) have signed an agreement to develop material-enabled automated manufacturing solutions focused on improving and enhancing the manufacture of wind turbine blade components and finished blades.
In addition, the Michigan Strategic Fund board finalized a Centers of Energy Excellence designation and a $6 million grant for AWE to establish operations with an initial focus on the production of spar caps.
The grant will also be used by Dow for material development and optimization, and by MAG for designing, constructing and demonstrating a prototype automated system for manufacturing the spar cap. Designed to help the state diversify into renewable energy technologies, the state funding matches U.S. federal stimulus funds AWE received in December 2009.
Dow and MAG will initially focus on the advanced materials and automating manufacturing technology for AWE to produce spar caps, with a long-term vision for the technology to be used for both the fabrication of other wind turbine components and assembly of those components into finished wind turbine blades.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory will assist Dow with evaluation of the advanced materials. Dow and MAG expect to have a material-enabled automation technology solution available in 2012.
SOURCE: Dow Chemical Co.