Towers used to support wind turbines might soon be manufactured using resin from Ashland Inc. (Dublin, Ohio, USA) rather than steel. A $1.1 million grant by the Ohio Third Frontier Advanced Energy Program is funding collaboration among the University of Dayton Research Institute and companies Ershigs (Bellingham, Wash., USA), WebCore Technologies Inc. (Miamisburg, Ohio, USA), the Edison Materials Technology Center (EMTEC, Dayton, Ohio) and others to fabricate wind turbine towers from resin supplied by Ashland Performance Materials, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc.
"This is a great opportunity to meet a significant need in this rapidly-growing market," said Cedric Ball, marketing projects leader, Ashland Performance Materials. "Steel towers for large wind turbines have reached size and weight limits for over-the-road transport. Composite towers potentially solve this problem."
Work is expected to begin this month. This is the second wind energy project to tap Ashland as a collaborative partner. Last fall, Ashland announced its participation in the University of Maine's Offshore Wind Consortium, DeepCwind, that was awarded an $8 million grant from the federal government's stimulus program.