Dow Corning has announced that it will invest up to $13 million (USD) to expand its European capabilities to innovate with silicon-based materials and technologies.
The investment in a Solar Energy Exploration / Development Center (SEED) includes two new buildings that will complement the company's Business & Technology Center in Seneffe, Belgium. One building, a Synthesis Technology Center for the European area, will house laboratories and chemists focusing on innovations in silicon-based materials. The other, the European Solar Solutions Application Center, will focus on advancing the company's technology for use in photovoltaic cells.
Construction is expected to begin later in 2010.
Staffed by scientists and, engineers, the Synthesis Technology Center will be designed to support the exploration of new materials and develop new innovative solutions in industries such as construction, beauty and personal care, coating, plastics & composites, automotive & tire, healthcare, and electronics. A specific goal of the center is to shorten the innovation cycle to turn market opportunities and new ideas into profitable solutions for customers and for Dow Corning.
"This investment increases Dow Corning's innovation capabilities in Belgium, allowing us to expand our European research and innovation portfolio and continue to add to our scientific and technical expertise," said Gregg Zank, Dow Corning senior vice president and Chief Technology Officer. "The new facility will open new possibilities for materials development and take our application research to the next level, enabling closer collaboration to better meet the needs of our customers."
In addition to the company's three current solar application centers in the United States and Korea, the European Solar Application Center will enable engineers and scientists to work with customers to develop, evaluate, and test silicon-based materials solutions used to make solar cells.
"Europe has been a pioneer for the solar industry and Dow Corning is excited to strengthen its capabilities in the European Union, where many of our customers and innovation collaborators in the scientific community are located," said Eric Peeters, Dow Corning Business vice president Solar. "This investment confirms our intention to be an active, eager partner with researchers, producers and governments and demonstrates our commitment to help solar become a competitive and sustainable energy option globally."
Dow Corning Solar Solutions provides materials and services for the entire photovoltaic supply chain, from silicon feedstock for ingot and wafer production to solar module assembly materials. It is leveraging its unique position and global leadership in the silicon and silicone value chain to deliver solutions that will make a difference in the photovoltaic industry and help photovoltaic producers fulfill the mid- and long-term promises of solar energy.