In line with its' accelerating investments in new application and market development, SABIC has announced the creation of a new Energy Center of Excellence at its European headquarters in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands. The new facility, an expansion of SABIC Innovative Plastics' existing Fluid Engineering Center of Excellence and part of the company's Global Application Technology (GApT) organization, aims to help customers use lightweight, high-performance thermoplastics to replace heavy and increasingly costly copper, aluminum, steel, and glass in thermal and photovoltaic solar panels.
The center is equipped with leading edge design, molding, and testing equipment, and is staffed by engineers, materials scientists, and application development experts, to help customers utilize the latest in advanced thermoplastic technologies for the mass production of solar panels. SABIC Innovative Plastics' goal is to be a major contributor in making solar energy for heating and electricity a practical and continuously more affordable option.
The Center of Excellence builds on the experience SABIC Innovative Plastics has gained in developing large automotive parts like fenders and glazing, and on the resources of the Fluid Engineering Center of Excellence. The intent is to utilize SABIC Innovative Plastics' high-performance materials - such as the Noryl* Lexan* and Ultem* resin portfolios - in advanced designs and systems to meet demanding performance challenges where other materials find it difficult to compete. These include climate and weathering performance, long-term hot water and overheating resistance, and optical efficiency. Other SABIC Innovative Plastics' products, such as UV resistant Lexan multi-wall sheet, are also being evaluated. Technology highlights of the Energy Center of Excellence include:
" A solar simulator to test the performance of complete solar thermal and photovoltaic collectors in different climatic conditions.
" Tools to measure the long-term hydrolytic stability and creep rupture performance, and fluctuating pressure resistance of solar thermal collectors.
" Extrusion of multi-wall sheet, twin-wall sheet vacuum forming and injection molding up to 2,700 tons of clamping force, including a new 1,600-ton rotating platen multi-component injection molding machine.
The center will also draw on the resources of the Fluid Engineering Center of Excellence, which is dedicated to expanding the use of engineering plastics in fluid handling applications, for data on how thermoplastics perform under exposure to hot water.