German institute breaks ground on solar centre at Dow site

18 September 2009 17:31  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--German research institute Fraunhofer CSP has broken ground on a photovoltaic module technology centre at Dow Chemical's chemical park in Schkopau, in Germany's Saxony-Anhalt state, it said on Friday.

The centre's objective is to reduce the cost of making solar modules while increasing their efficiency through the use of new polymers and materials, state economics minister Reiner Haseloff said.

When completed by the end of 2010, the centre would help promote the creation of new value chains on the basis of Schkopau’s chemicals competencies, he said.

“This is the ‘new chemical industry’, which we are developing here for the 21st century,” he said.

Rudolf Lamm, general manager of Dow’s German subsidiary, Dow Olefinverbund GmbH, said the centre would initially create a number of high-tech jobs at Schkopau.

However, once the new technologies were proven successful, they would create jobs throughout the industry, he said.

The centre is part of a €60m ($88m) technology investment that also includes a new building and equipment at the Weinberg technology campus near Halle. The bulk of the funding comes from Saxony-Anhalt state and the EU.

Fraunhofer CSP already has a pilot plant for polymer synthesis and polymer processing at Schkopau.

Apart from Dow Chemical, producers at Schkopau include INEOS and Vinnolit, as well as a number of plastics and films producers.

($1 = €0.68)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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