Composites increase solar panel durability and reduce weight

High-performance solar panel developing company Armageddon Energy has introduced a “composites-intensive version of its rooftop solar panel system” that will allow rooftop systems to generate more capacity, CompositesWorld reports. The SolarClover panels replace traditional float glass with “a thin, clear polymer film of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), trademarked Tefzel, from DuPont Performance Materials,” according to the article. To eliminate aluminum in the structural backpanel, Armageddon uses a thermoplastic honeycomb panel produced by EconCore. The solar panels made with these composites are “significantly lighter in weight and considerably more robust than typical solar panels.” Armageddon CEO Mark Goldman said, “[w]ith lighter panels, rooftops can hold more panels, for greater power output.” For more, read the full article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Solar

First Solar’s new Series 6 panels will be “revolutionary”

The unveiling of a new production line at First Solar Inc.’s Perrysburg Township plant gave a group of media members and Wall Street analysts “a glimpse into the company’s future,” The Toledo Blade reports. The company spent “$177 million to retool the plant” for its new Series 6 production “beginning early in next year’s second quarter,” according to the article. The new “efficient and flexible” production line will “produce enough panels annually to generate 600 megawatts of power.” The new Series 6 panels “will be nothing short of revolutionary,” according to Mike Koralewski, First Solar’s global manufacturing leader. First Solar “uses thin-film technology based on a cadmium-tellurium formula” which in the past had created smaller panels than the silicon-based panels made by other manufacturers. The Series 6 will match the size of silicon-based panels, making them “very competitive.” For more, read the full article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Solar

ASHTA Chemicals $100M project will upgrade energy efficiency and environmental friendliness

A chemical products manufacturer in Ashtabula Township “has started work on a $100 million project” to improve its energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, the Star Beacon reports. ASHTA Chemicals makes “chlorine and potassium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and other chemical products used for water treatment, pharmaceuticals, batteries, industrial cleaners and fertilizers,” according to the article. The company “has been using a mercury cell process to make its products” for decades, but will switch to a “membrane cell technology” process, which will eliminate the use of mercury and reduce energy costs “by about 25 percent.” ASHTA President Brad Westfall said, “[t]his investment will allow us to operate our facility long into the future with significantly improved energy efficiency and increased production capacity,” as well as eliminating the use of mercury. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp.

Whirlpool adding wind turbines at Greenville plant

Whirlpool Corp. is adding to its on-site wind energy power already in use at its manufacturing facilities in Marion, Findlay, and Ottawa (see our November 16, 2016 blog post for more), with the announcement that the company will build three new turbines at its Greenville plant, the Dayton Daily News reports. The Greenville turbines “will generate more than 12 million kilowatt hours annually to offset approximately 70 percent of the plant’s electricity consumption,” the article reports. Additionally, Whirlpool said the wind farms will make the company “one of the largest users of on-site wind energy of any Fortune 500 company in the United States.” For more, read the full article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Wind

Stark Area Regional Transit Authority official embraces fuel-cell technology

Kent State University’s Stark campus recently hosted the North American Fuel Cell Bus Conference, where transit officials and company executives discussed “fuel cell energy’s progress and where it goes from here,” reports. The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) CEO and Executive Director, Kirt Conrad, believes fuel-cell technology “could boost the local economy if enough companies that serve roles in the fuel cell industry supply chain grow or relocate” to the area, according to the article. SARTA has “the largest fuel-cell bus fleet east of the Mississippi River,” and “expects to have at least 13 hydrogen fuel cell buses within the next year.” Conrad “has hosted events locally for people who work in the fuel cell industry to promote Stark County as a future site for companies” involved in the supply chain. For more, read the full article.

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy

If we build them (recharging stations), 10,000 emissions-free vehicles could come

Columbus currently has “[a] single hydrogen fuel-cell bus,” but a clean fuel collaborative said there could be 10,000 more fuel-cell vehicles in the city if we added more recharging stations, Columbus Business First reports. A report by Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Collaborative said building five additional hydrogen recharging stations in Columbus and Dublin would mean “transit and delivery fleets could add more” of the emissions-free cars, according to the article. The Ohio State University “added a hydrogen fuel-cell bus to its Campus Area Bus System” in March 2017; that bus is on a one-year loan from the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority. Kirt Conrad, CEO of the transit authority, said adding recharging stations is ultimately “about keeping Ohio competitive in the emerging electric vehicle market and making sure we have a leadership role in this emerging industry.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp.

Ohio General Motors plants will run on 100% renewable energy by end of 2018

General Motors Corp. recently announced plans for all of its Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities to “meet their electricity needs through 100 percent renewable energy” by the end of 2018, according to a press release. The Business Journal reports General Motors “is buying 200 megawatts of wind energy from wind farms in Ohio and Illinois.” According to the article, wind power “will be used at the Lordstown Assembly, Defiance Casting Operations, Parma Metal Center and Toledo Transmission Plant in Ohio” as well as facilities in Indiana. The auto manufacturer “also uses solar power at 26 plants, including Lordstown,” according to The Business Journal. The article also reports that GM plans to “generate electricity for all of its plants on-site by 2050.” For more, read the full press release and article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Ohio leads Midwest in solar jobs, second overall in clean energy jobs

As the number of Americans working in clean-energy jobs approaches 600,000, Ohio and Michigan “are home to a large portion” of that workforce, The Toledo Blade reports. Ohio “leads the Midwest” in solar with 8,719 jobs, and last year “experienced a 4.6 percent growth in clean energy jobs,” according to a recently released report. The 2017 Clean Jobs Midwest report, compiled by Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, shows the “Midwest added more than 30,000 clean energy jobs last year,” with 4,661 of those in Ohio, according to The Blade. While Ohio “leads the Midwest in clean energy manufacturing jobs,” the state has fallen behind in wind energy since the 2014 legislation that created “the most restrictive” turbine setback limits in the country. That restriction could be costing Ohio billions (see our June 7, 2017 blog post). Gail Parson, Environmental Entrepreneurs spokesperson Gail Parson said that “gets back to why policies matter so much, but the clean energy march is progressing.” For more, read the full article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Ohio offers $11M in tax credits as Amazon eyes two more facilities in state

Monroe and North Randall could be the newest Ohio locations for Amazon distribution centers, and the state is offering $11.6 million in tax credits to help make that happen, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Amazon “officially announced plans for the North Randall project” that includes a $100 million investment “to develop an 855,000-square-foot center employing 2,000 workers earning $55.4 million a year,” according to the article. Amazon would invest $30 million in the Monroe project, which is expected to create “1,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $26.7 million if the company goes ahead with the project.” The Dayton Business Journal reports that a JobsOhio spokesperson “said it will continue to work with the company” and that the combined $11.6 million tax credit from The Ohio Tax Credit Authority was “an important step.” For more, read the full Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Business Journal articles. 

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Project Finance

Amazon building second Ohio wind farm for $300 million

Amazon Web Services, Inc.’s latest plans for expansion in Ohio are “likely to raise the profile of Ohio’s wind industry,” as the company will build a second major wind farm in the state, The Toledo Blade reports. Amazon will invest $300 million in the 189-megawatt (MW) Amazon Wind Farm US Central 2 in Hardin County, according to the article. The company expects its first wind farm, the 100-MW Amazon Wind Farm US Central in Paulding County, to start producing electricity in May 2017, while the second wind farm “is expected to come online in December, 2017.” Amazon said in a statement it “supports proposed changes to the state’s current wind setbacks law to encourage more investment in new renewable wind power projects,” referring to HB 483, legislation enacted in 2014 that created “some of the nation’s most restrictive setback requirements for wind turbines,” the Blade reports. Peter DeSantis, Amazon Web Services vice president of infrastructure, said, “[w]e remain committed to achieving our long-term goal of powering the AWS Cloud with 100 percent renewable energy.” For more, read the full article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Wind
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