Astraeus, Energetx receive Michigan energy development funds

Both companies, involved in manufacture of wind energy systems, received funds from the state of Michigan to support their research and expansion efforts.

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Astraeus Wind Energy Inc., a joint venture of MAG Industrial Automation Systems Inc. (Sterling Heights, Mich., USA) and Dowding Machining Inc. (Eaton Rapids, Mich., USA), has received $7 million from the state of Michigan as part of $15.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds for advanced manufacturing of renewable-energy systems and components. The money will be used to help the company develop materials and technology to automate wind blade manufacturing systems.

Astraeus is said to be close to finalizing a deal to license a new turbine blade design from a major wind turbine component manufacturer, and is negotiating with Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich., USA) for Dow to supply a new resin that will have the same lightweight strength characteristics of carbon fiber, but at less cost. Astraeus plans to use the $7 million from the state of Michigan to build its first machining center for wind turbine hubs. Astraeus also is reportedly planning to build two wind turbine manufacturing facilities in Michigan, one on the east side of the state and the other on the west side.

Also receiving funds from the state of Michigan is Energetx Composites (Holland, Mich., USA), which will use its $3 million to fund infrastructure enhancements, licensing agreements for blade design, and employment costs associated with start-up activity. Energetx Composites' recent accomplishments include establishment of a strategic relationship with a recognized wind energy blade design group, tooling and manufacturing preparation of a 10m/33-ft community scale blade product, and engineering and tooling of nacelles and spinner components.

Energetx expects to grow its workforce to near 300 employees by summer 2011. “Our staffing needs will be spurned by this crucial investment of the state of Michigan. Additional employees will be added as early as next week with a more significant ramp-up planned for 2010 as increased business will support,” said Kelly Slikkers, vice president business development.