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Vestas team taps US energy cash

$4.5m initiative targets high-speed composite manufacturing

Vestas team taps US energy cash image

Danish company Vestas is part of a project team that has scooped $4.5m in US funding to develop a high-speed manufacturing process for composite products.

Boeing is leading the charge on the "energy efficient thermoplastic composite manufacturing" project with partners including the turbine manufacturer and Ford Motors, Ajax Tocco, Temper Inc, Cytec Engineered Materials and Steeplechase Tool and Die.

Cash is part of the Department of Energy's $23m Innovative Manufacturing Initiative, the third round of which was announced today and spread across 12 different projects.

"These IMI project selections leverage federal investments with additional cost share from the private sector to develop leading-edge materials, tools, and techniques that will save US companies money by reducing the energy or materials needed to make their products," said the DOE.

The IMI is in turn part of the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, which is targeted at doubling energy productivity by 2030.

"By advancing the development of innovative manufacturing technologies, investing in substantial energy efficiency upgrades at production plants across the country and training American workers for the advanced manufacturing jobs of tomorrow, the Department of Energy is helping make America’s manufacturing sector even stronger in an intensely competitive global market," it said.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz added: “Continued smart investments in advanced manufacturing technologies, and the American workforce today, will strengthen our competitive edge for decades to come."

Meanwhile, Sandia National Laboratories has kicked off a project to improve productivity in blade fabrication and finishing processes.

The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Initiative is a three-year, $6.3m scheme featuring researchers from Sandia, Iowa State University and TPI Composites of Scottsdale, Arizona.

It aims to make US wind turbine blade manufacturing economically viable in the US market and a reduction in manufacturing time of 35% is targeted.

Image: composites are key to turbine blade technology (Vestas)

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