Biz Briefs, June 2011

Dow Epoxy expands production capacity.

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On May 5, Dow Epoxy, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.) announced that it will expand liquid epoxy resin production capacity at its plant in Stade, Germany. Operative as early as fourth-quarter 2012, the expansion will increase annual capacity by 30,000 metric tonnes (66.14 million lb), a 10 percent increase in the company’s global epoxy capacity. The move was prompted by anticipated demand for epoxies in specialty applications (i.e., wind turbine blades and other structural composites), electronics materials and coatings as well as ongoing geographic growth throughout Europe, the Middle East, China and India. To ensure a reliable supply of epoxy resin, epoxy subcomponents bisphenol A and epichlorohydrine are produced at the Stade site. Dow also plans to restart its idled epichlorohydrine plant in Freeport, Texas, which has an annual capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes (220.46 million lb). Dow also has secured a reliable supply of cumene, a raw material used to produce phenol and acetone, key components of bisphenol A, and recently invested in chlorine through a 50/50 manufacturing joint venture with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan), which will build, own and operate a new membrane chlor-alkali facility on Dow’s Freeport campus.  

Firehole Composites’ (Laramie, Wyo.) Engineering Services branch announced that it has been awarded a contract from Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC, Portland, Maine). Under its terms, Firehole will conduct structural analysis of OPRC’s patented TidGen advanced cross-flow turbine, which is designed to produce renewable power from ocean energy. Firehole’s consultants will provide composites-specific expertise and advanced technology through the use of their analysis software, Helius:MCT. “From composite pressure vessels to wind blades, Firehole has been involved in the energy sector specific to composites for many years. We are excited to partner with ORPC as they lead this effort to produce these complex underwater structures,” said Jason Gies, VP of business development at Firehole.