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From Site Selection magazine, March 2010
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by JOHN W. McCURRY

DuPont Boosts PV Research Capabilities

DuPont has opened a photovoltaic research center at its European Technical Center in Geneva.  Photo courtesy of DuPont
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uPont has opened the Meyrin Photovoltaic Application Laboratory at its European Technical Center in Geneva, Switzerland. The facility will develop the next generation of products for the fast-growing photovoltaic market.

"Addressing energy needs is a global concern," said Ellen Kullman, DuPont's CEO and chairman. "The generation and storage of renewable energy will be the fastest growing sector in the energy market for the next 20 years. We can apply the power of our market-driven science to offer products and technologies that can transform the sun's potential into clean energy, contributing to decreasing dependence on fossil fuels."

The Meyrin Photovoltaic Application Lab will operate as an open center, enabling technological exchanges and research collaborations among DuPont and customers, industrial partners, institutes and academia. The lab is designed to advance state-of-the-art solar module design, accelerate time to market in photovoltaic innovation and deliver cost-effective, high-performance solutions for the photovoltaic industry.

A new building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panel system that replaces tile or slate roofs is an example of open innovation. The system was developed at the lab in collaboration with DuPont Building and industry partners. It significantly improves the ease and speed of installation, offers high-energy efficiency, exceptional water tightness and superior aesthetics to the building. The system was initially developed for the French market, where it will be commercialized in the first quarter of 2010. In a second phase, the product will be commercialized in other Southern European markets.

DuPont anticipates that the photovoltaic market will grow by about 30 percent in 2010 and will continue to grow rapidly over the next three years. With sales in the sector exceeding US$500 million in 2009, the company expects overall sales of its family of products into the photovoltaic industry will exceed $1 billion by 2012. DuPont has recently made significant investments in product development and capacity expansions for leading brands critical to solar cell and module manufacturing silicon and thin-film photovoltaic solar modules, while reducing total systems cost and enabling the photovoltaic industry to reach grid parity faster.


Nestlé Opens Biscuit R&D Center in Chile

Nestlé’s R&D center opened in Santiago, Chile, in January.
Photo courtesy of Nestlé
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estlé has opened a global R&D Centre for biscuits and cereal-based snacks in Santiago, Chile. The new R&D center will lead Nestlé's global research and development in biscuits and cereal-based snacks, focusing both on innovation and renovation of products. R&D Santiago will bring together specialists from various fields, including nutrition, engineering, product development and quality control. Nestlé says the development of new technologies at R&D Santiago will help to further reduce sugar and fat levels to make biscuits lighter, without compromising taste or texture. The facility will also develop biscuits with bioactive ingredients to improve digestive health, as well as fortified products to address local micronutrient deficiencies, thereby adapting biscuits to local tastes and needs. 

The new facility is based at Nestlé's industrial site in Maipú, which employs more than 1,200 people.

Nestlé's growing and profitable biscuit business amounted to $1.3 billion in 2008, with 60 percent of sales achieved in Latin America. Overall, Latin America is an important region for Nestlé, where the company has been present for many decades and reached sales of $14.5 billion in 2008. In Chile, Nestlé has been present for 76 years, and today has seven production facilities in different parts of the country.

The new center in Santiago will benefit from synergies between R&D and biscuit manufacturing, will work closely with other Nestlé R&D facilities around the world and will engage in local governmental initiatives and partnerships with universities such as the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Universidad de Chile. Nestlé's global R&D network comprises 28 research, development and technology centers and employs around 5,000.


DSM Plant Makes Debut

DSM has expanded its manufacturing complex in Meppen, Germany. Photo courtesy of Royal DSM N.V.
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etherlands-based Royal DSM N.V., the global life and materials sciences company, has opened a plant for the production of wet polyesters and other specialty resins in Meppen, Germany. Total investment is $20.6 million. The new plant was built at the existing site of DSM NeoResins in Meppen, and allows for further expansions in the future. With the new plant DSM NeoResins reinforces its strong position in fast growing and important markets such as metal packaging (can), pre-painted metal (coil), specialty decorative markets, specialty adhesives, graphic arts and industrial wood.

The opening of the new plant is the latest in a series of investments in additional production capacity by DSM on the Meppen site. Over the last 20 years DSM has invested $82.4 million in the site, transforming it into a multipurpose specialty resin site. DSM produces a wide variety of resins at Meppen, including waterborne and solvent borne polyesters, urethanes, acrylics, and epoxy esters.


Petrochemical Complex Planned in Qatar

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atar Petroleum (QP) and ExxonMobil Chemical Qatar Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp., have signed an agreement to move forward with the development of a world-scale petrochemical complex in Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar. The proposed complex would include the world's largest steam cracker and polyethylene plants, and one of the world's largest ethylene glycol plants.

The proposed petrochemical complex would include a 1.6-million-tons-per-annum steam cracker, two 650,000-tons-per-annum gas phase polyethylene plants, and a 700,000-tons-per-annum ethylene glycol plant. The project will employ ExxonMobil's proprietary steam cracking furnace, polyethylene process, and specialty polyethylene product technologies.

It will utilize feedstock from gas development projects in Qatar's North Field and produce a range of premium products to serve global petrochemical demand, with a particular focus on the growing Asia markets.

Start-up of the proposed facility is estimated for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil are currently working together to diversify the use of Qatar's North Field gas including the expansion of facilities to deliver liquefied natural gas resources to targeted markets, and the supply of pipeline gas to domestic customers.


Chinese R&D Projects Get Green Light

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he Hong Kong, Guangdong and Shenzhen governments will jointly provide funding for 12 applied research and development projects under the "Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Co-operation Funding Scheme." The projects were chosen from among 46 applications seeking funding. The applications were vetted jointly by Hong Kong and Guangdong or by Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

The amount requested from the Hong Kong side for the 12 supported projects is about HK$54.9 million (US$7.03 million). These projects involve intelligent industry robots, high-precision manufacturing equipment, data-mining and decision-making technologies, medical biotechnology, research and development of novel medical devices, materials technologies for photovoltaics, core technology for multimedia signal processing and productization, design and applications of high-precision AD converter integrated circuits, and platform technologies for integrated circuits.

The funding program, launched in 2004 by the Hong Kong/Guangdong Expert Group on Co-operation in Innovation and Technology, serves to enhance the collaboration between R&D institutions and industry in the two places, and to upgrade the technology level of industry in the Greater Pearl River Delta region. Since the establishment of the program, the two governments have supported more than 850 R&D projects with total funding of HK$1.91 billion (US$244.87 million).



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