Midland, Mich.-based Dow Corning was established in 1943 specifically to explore the potential of silicones. It was created as a joint venture between Corning Glass Works (now Corning Inc.) and The Dow Chemical Co.
Today, the company is a powerhouse in the chemical industry, as evidenced by recent news.
Indeed, Dow Corning senior scientist and director of global science and technology outreach Thomas H. Lane was named 2009 president of the American Chemical Society (ACS). He also will serve on the ACS Board of Directors through 2010.
In his candidate's statement, Lane emphasized the need for education and science literacy. “The next generation of explorers, seekers, and dreamers are being adversely influenced by the dulled public image of chemistry.” He believes that ACS must ensure that people – particularly children – understand “the transforming powers of chemistry.”
In other Dow Corning news, the company announced several billion dollars of investments to provide critical materials to the fast-growing solar technology industry.
Dow Corning will begin manufacturing high purity monosilane, a key specialty gas used to manufacture thin-film solar cells and liquid crystal displays. This investment includes construction of a new monosilane manufacturing facility in Hemlock, Mich., adjacent to Hemlock Semiconductor Corp.’s polysilicon manufacturing site.
Meanwhile in China, Dow Corning and Wacker Chemie AG officially started production in the first stage of their new pyrogenic silica and siloxane plants in Zhangjiagang.
The new plants are key facilities of an integrated silicone manufacturing site developed by both companies to produce materials used extensively in construction, beauty and personal care, power and automotives. Total investment from both companies for the site is estimated to be approximately US$1.2 billion.
The combined projected capacity for siloxane and pyrogenic silica is approximately 200,000 metric tons per year. It is expected that full operational capacity will be phased in by the end of 2010. Through their Zhangjiagang production complex, Wacker and Dow Corning intend to serve growing customer demand for silicone materials in China and throughout the Asian region.
Dow Corning also is heeding the demand for sustainability with its waste reduction efforts.
The company has reported significant progress in waste reduction, including a cut of up to 80% in process scrap at one of its manufacturing sites.
The reductions have been achieved in part through the company’s materials conversion program, which converts or recycles its waste, scrap and off-spec silicone materials instead of sending them to landfill or incineration. Materials are then reprocessed into new products that meet customers' specifications.
Additionally, the company is reducing consumption of natural gas and carbon dioxide emissions by burning hydrogen at its Midland, Mich., plant. Through a wide variety of projects over the past five years, Dow Corning has seen a 19,800-tons-per-year reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Noticing the company’s environmental efforts, Frost & Sullivan awarded Dow Corning the 2008 Global Specialty Chemicals Corporate Leadership Green Excellence Award for its demonstrated commitment to the use of renewable and sustainable energy resources in the global specialty chemicals market.
“Dow Corning is more than a manufacturer supplying products to the global green energy industries. It is a company that ’leads by example‘ and shows the rest of the industry how manufacturers can use their technical expertise and products in achieving measurable environmental targets and improving their environmental performance across their business,” notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Leonidas Dokos. “Dow Corning’s sustainable development approach is coupled with the value of corporate responsibility which are founded on the company’s vision and connected through to business unit goals.”
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