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Owens Corning announces breakthrough single-end roving for wind energy

Owens Corning : 10 June, 2006  (New Product)
Owens Corning announced at the European Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition in Athens, Greece, a breakthrough single-end roving and knitted fabric, WindStrand(TM), which 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 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

A New, Revolutionary Reinforcements Platform

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(TM), which is the result of a revolution in glass melting, fiberizing and sizing technology. The new reinforcement will be produced using the Owens Corning next-generation fiberglass manufacturing process, which has a significantly smaller environmental footprint than other technologies currently in use. The performance statistics for WindStrand are 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 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.'

Wind Energy has Come of Age

The price parity per kwh of generated power varies considerably between different sources of energy. To further comply with the commitments made by the European Union under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a recent EU Directive stipulates the need to help double the share of non-fossil renewable energy sources, such as wind, from six percent to 12 percent of gross energy consumption in Europe by 2010. The cost and performance benefits of innovations like WindStrand are essential to helping renewable energy sources like wind energy move to the next level of adoption in the global market.

This is the first time the EU has adopted legislation aimed at promoting the production of energy from renewable resources and is the first step on the road to attaining a sustainable energy system. If targets throughout the EU are met, the consumption of green electricity will rise from 14 percent to 22 percent by 2010.

However, wind energy power generation is not restricted to Europe. India is the fourth largest producer of wind-based power after Germany, Spain and the United States, and China's current wind energy plan is to reach 20 gigawatts by 2020. In Latin America, Brazil offers the greatest potential where wind energy could provide a cost-effective alternative to hydroelectric systems in some areas of the country where water is best used for irrigation.
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