St Paul, Minnesota -The 3M co. has formed a Renewable Energy Division to allow it to maximise technologies, products and responsiveness to this fast-changing industry.
Products in the new division will include items such as polyurethane tape currently sold to the wind energy industry, new ones devised solely for the renewable energy market, and products adapted from existing technologies, said a 1 Feb 3M announcement on the new unit. The division will be part of 3M's Industrial and Transportation Business and will focus on energy generation and energy management.
Michael Roman will be vice president and general manager of the new business. "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, in the company statement.
3M said it will use sophisticated solutions in 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. Such approaches improve light management, environmental durability, thermal management and productivity.
One example is in the wind industry, where 3M's polyurethane wind tapes have been used extensively for protecting the leading-edge of wind turbine blades, and its abrasives and safety products have been used to enhance manufacturing efficiency and safety. Setting up this new division will allow 3M to focus its expertise in films, tapes, coatings, and adhesives to enhance wind turbine reliability and efficiency. Properties which will be valuable here include the ability to mitigate erosion, fouling, and icing of blades, as well as to enhance blade aerodynamics.