Buried in the financial bailout bill that was signed into law last week was the renewal of production tax credits for renewable energy, such as wind power. Under the credit, generators receive a one-year, 30 percent reduction on construction costs, and the Incentive Tax Credit gives users an eight-year, 30 percent rebate on the installation of solar power systems. Even though wind and solar power make imminent sense, they still needs a boost from the U.S. government. It’s hard to tell where the presidential candidates really stand on wind power. They both say they support it.
European producers are already a step ahead on wind power because of significant government assistance. The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation awarded $5.4 million to blade maker LM Glasfiber for the development of an innovative blade technology based on the use of new types of fiber. “The new fibers will revolutionize the blade manufacturing process, and the research program, which aims to ensure that Denmark remains the world leader in wind energy, has been named ‘Blade King’,” stated an announcement.
European Commission Directive 2001/77/EC of the European Parliament sets a target of 21 percent of electricity demand in the EU to be covered by renewable energy sources by 2010. Key aspects of the directive include:
• Streamlining of administrative procedures that precede the installation of a new plant;
• Application of support schemes that compensate renewable electricity for its positive environmental impacts and its contribution to the security of supply;
• Publication of guarantees of origin; and
• Regulation of transparent mechanisms to bear the costs of technical adaptation.
Just in time for Earth Day, chemicals leader Bayer MaterialScience reported from the UTECH Europe 2015 polyurethane show on programs and applications using its materials to help reduce energy usage. The company also gave an update on its CO2-based PU as that eco-friendly material comes closer to production.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
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