3M has announced the formation of its new Renewable Energy Division. This organization will enable 3M to maximize the company’s technologies, products and responsiveness to the fast-changing renewable energy industry. The products within the new division will include products currently sold to the industry, new-to-the-world products invented for the renewable energy market, and products adapted from existing technologies. The division falls within 3M’s Industrial and Transportation Business and will focus on Energy Generation and Energy Management.
In conjunction with the formation of the new division, 3M appointed Michael Roman as vice president and general manager, 3M Renewable Energy Division, to lead the new business. Roman currently is the vice president, Business Development, Optical Systems Division, Asia.
“3M’s new operation will serve the renewable energy market globally and bring the best products and technologies from a single source to customers worldwide,” said Roman. “3M’s leadership will spread the company’s next-generation products to the global marketplace where customers will reap the benefits of having one face that can provide proven solutions, when the need is of the utmost importance.”
Within the new division, two business units have been established to serve this industry: Energy Generation led by business director Tracy Anderson, and Energy Management led by business director Ranjit Thakur.
For Energy Generation, 3M will bring to bear sophisticated solar energy, wind energy, geothermal and biofuel product solutions such as films, tapes, coatings, encapsulants, sealants and adhesives that help reduce the cost of renewable energy. These solutions provide functionality for light management, environmental durability, thermal management and productivity improvement. The business will draw on 3M’s technology base composed of 40-plus core technologies.
3M’s understanding of materials science has paved the way for breakthroughs in concentrating light. For example, 3M Solar Concentrator Panels concentrate light and are manufactured to match customer specifications. 3M Mirror Films demonstrate potential to provide cost savings over similar glass-based systems. And other next-generation films provide durability and reliability required in solar panels, with added properties for ultraviolet stability, low flammability and self cleaning.
In the wind industry, 3M has provided solutions for more than a decade. For example, the company’s polyurethane wind tapes have been used extensively for protecting the leading-edge of wind turbine blades, and 3M’s abrasives and safety products have been used to enhance manufacturing efficiency and safety. With the formation of the Renewable Energy Division, 3M will focus its expertise in films, tapes, coatings, and adhesives to enhance wind turbine reliability and efficiency. 3M’s technologies, for example, may be leveraged to mitigate erosion, fouling, and icing of blades, as well as enhance blade aerodynamics.
In Energy Management, 3M received the very first window film patent in 1966 and continues to be a world leader in window film technology over four decades later. Today, 3M’s window film portfolio has grown to include solar management, safety and security and decorative technology platforms that are sold in the Automotive, Commercial Building and Residential market segments throughout the world. The Prestige Series, one of 3M’s innovative lines of window film products, are the first clear and non-metal based window films to significantly reduce heat and ultraviolet rays entering a building. These films block up to 66 percent of heat penetrating the window, resulting in less stress on air-conditioning and lower energy costs. 3M continues to break new ground with innovative products and services in the ever-changing, and rapidly expanding energy management market to meet customer needs.
The company’s uncanny ability to mix and match seemingly unrelated technologies plays out time and again to create state-of-the art solutions. For instance, 3M pioneered solar films 25 years ago, when scientists first developed solar energy and mirror films. The company also has significant experience in developing products for long-term exposure to outdoor environments and has unmatched capabilities in weathering. 3M’s 106-year history with established coatings, film, tape, adhesive and optical technologies continues to spur breakthrough innovation with new products and applications in renewable energy to meet ever-changing demands in the marketplace.