A new partnership will join materials technology and composite-processing systems to optimize the fabrication of wind turbine blade components, and finished blades, for the wind industry. Dow Chemical Co., Astraeus Wind Energy Inc. (AWE), and MAG Industrial Automation Systems (MAG), with funding from the state of Michigan, announced a joint technology project wherein they will collaboratively develop material-enabled automated manufacturing solutions.
The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board granted the project a Centers of Energy Excellence designation in April 2010, including a $6 million grant for AWE to establish operations that will initially focus on the production of spar caps: the "backbone" of a wind turbine blade. The grant will also be used by Dow for material development and optimization, as well as by MAG for designing, constructing, and demonstrating a prototype automated system for manufacturing the spar cap. MAG has developed similar technologies for manufacturing composite aircraft components. Designed to help the state diversify into renewable energy technologies, the state funding matches U.S. federal stimulus funds AWE received in December 2009.