Owens Corning (Toledo, Ohio, USA) announced on July 7 that the company is supporting its wind blade fabrication customers in Asia by expanding capacity to produce technical fabrics at its manufacturing facilities in Chanzhou and Doudian, China and Taloja, India.
The investment adds about one-third more knitting capacity to the three plants' existing fabrics operations, to supply technical fabrics for the region's growing wind energy market, which includes the fast-growing China market. The expansion is already underway and will be completed during the third quarter of 2009.
"During the past 20 years, Owens Corning has been leading the way with roving and fabrics preferred by the world's largest wind blade manufacturers," says Sunil Saxena, general manager and managing director for OCV Technical Fabrics, Asia Pacific region. "The expansions of fabric capacity in China and India will enable us to supply more of our customers' growing requirements locally."
Composites Group President Chuck Dana said the expansion is another demonstration of the company's commitment to wind energy. "Renewable wind energy is needed to assure a sustainable future," explained Dana. "Composites have many benefits in wind energy applications and Owens Corning has developed a number of products specifically customized and designed for increased productivity and improved laminate performance in a blade. This work is continuing to help make wind energy more competitive with traditional sources of electrical power."
Capacity for wind energy in Asia is expected to grow nearly 45 percent this year, from a total installed capacity of about 22,000 MW at the end of 2008 to nearly 32,000 MW at the end of this year, according to BTM Consult ApS, an independent consulting company specializing in renewable energy. BTM says growth in Asia will be led by China, which is expected to increase installed capacity by 60 percent in 2009. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, China will be the biggest growth market for wind power generating capacity this year, ahead of the United States.