New Owens Corning Products for Wind Energy Market

05 March 2006

Owens Corning has added a second glass fibre knitting line at its Taloja, Mumbai plant to increase the production of sophisticated multi-axial glass fabrics.

“This latest expansion of our fabric knitting capacity will benefit India in terms of economic development and energy conservation as our focus in India is aligned with infrastructure development, a national priority,” said Satish Kulkarni, Managing Director for Owens Corning India Ltd. “These highly technical fabrics are used in several key industries but especially for the wind energy market to supply growing demand in India and surrounding regions for continued growth of renewable energy sources such as wind power,” explained Kulkarni.

India’s power generation through wind energy has surpassed 4200MW making it the wind energy leader in Asia. The states of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are the leading regions for wind power in the country. India obtained the annual World Wind Energy Award 2005 for favourable policies enabling the proliferation of wind energy and emerges as the fourth largest country in the world in terms of a wind power generating nation after Germany, Spain and the US.

“The rapid investment in a second fabrics weaving line here at Taloja confirms Owens Corning’s pledge to our customers to offer tailored, low-cost manufacturing platforms and also demonstrates our commitment to sustain the company’s future growth strategy in India,” added Owens Corning Composites Business President Chuck Dana. “Increasingly, composites solutions are helping transform the lives of people, in India and around the world, by offering environmentally-friendly cost-effective solutions to some of the basic necessities such as providing clean drinking water and electricity.”

The company has also launched a new single-end roving and knitted fabric, WindStrand, which it says will allow the wind energy market to take another step forward in competing successfully against other alternative energy sources by reducing the cost per kilowatt-hour. The company claims that the product will allow turbine manufacturers to increase blade lengths by as much as six percent and deliver up to 12 percent more power -- for up to 20 percent less cost than any competing carbon-glass hybrid solution currently on the market.

In addition to the cost and performance benefits of WindStrand, the product also provides manufacturers with the traditional processability of glass, combined with the stiffness strength and weight of other high-performance materials. Other product highlights compared to conventional E-glass include:

• Up to 35 percent higher tensile strengths
• Up to 17 percent higher stiffness (modulus)
• Enhanced fatigue, impact, aging, corrosion, and temperature resistance

The product, which is targeted to be commercially available in late 2006, is the first application using the new Owens Corning high-performance reinforcement platform, HiPer-tex, which is the result of a new glass melting, fiberizing and sizing technology. The new reinforcement will be produced using the Owens Corning next-generation fibreglass manufacturing process, which has a significantly smaller environmental footprint than other technologies currently in use. The performance statistics for WindStrand are said to be based on extensive beta testing in the field, and design blade optimization by an independent research establishment based in the Netherlands Composite Technology Centre (CTC). CTC studied the effects of replacing traditional E-glass with WindStrand for several components in a 44-meter long rotor or blade, suitable for a 2.5 MW wind turbine.

“For 67 years, since the original invention of fiberglass, we’ve delivered sustainable, energy saving solutions that truly transform markets and enhance lives,” said Chuck Dana, Owens Corning Composites Solutions Business president. “To continue that pioneering history with the introduction of a new product for wind energy, which is key to our collective ability to meet the rising demand for energy and to safeguard the security of energy supplies, is absolutely at the heart of our corporate purpose and our spirit of true innovation.”

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