PPG Wins DOE Grant; Goes To China

Pittsburgh-based firm sees environmental conservation as a fundamental business strategy.

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PPG Industries has received a $741,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop materials and automation processes for making blades for wind turbines. In partnership with MAG Industrial Automation Systems, Pittsburgh-based PPG aims to optimize materials technologies and develop fiber-glass placement techniques to improve blade reliability while reducing production cost.

“We recognize the need for improved blade manufacturing processes in the wind energy market,” says Cheryl Richards, PPG global market manager, wind energy. “The opportunity to combine advances in materials technology with the productivity of automated assembly techniques will drive positive change in the manufacturing and performance of blades.” The bulk of work on the project will be completed in 2010 at facilities in North Carolina and Kentucky.

The DOE grant is one of 28 new wind energy projects made possible by funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to the “20% Wind by 2030: Overcoming the Challenges” program.

Wind energy isn't the only way the company addresses sustainability. PPG Industries has again been recognized as a leader for its carbon disclosure transparency and emissions management by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an independent, non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom that works with shareholders and corporations to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions of major corporations.

PPG scored 81 of a possible 100 points in the CDP’s 2009 Leadership Index (CLDI), ranking second in the materials sector, which had an average score of 59. In addition, PPG ranked third among materials companies for the CDP’s pilot “performance based” [no need for a hyphen if the term is in quotes] metrics, which measure a company’s plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Companies report data voluntarily to the CDP.

“We are pleased to be recognized yet again as one of the world’s leading companies in carbon disclosure and for our performance to reduce emissions, especially among a high-performing peer group,” says Reg Norton, PPG vice president, environment, health and safety. “PPG recognizes the need to address climate change, and as a corporate citizen, we not only have a responsibility to set aggressive greenhouse gas emissions-reduction and energy-conservation goals, we see it as a fundamental business strategy that will enable us to sustain success into the future.”

In other news, PPG recently broke ground at the Zhangjiagang Yangtze International Chemical Industrial Park, Jiangsu province, for its first resin production facility in China.

“As our 14th plant in greater China, the Zhangjiagang plant is another example of PPG’s commitment to growth in China and in the coatings industry,” says Charles E. Bunch, PPG chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “This milestone is further proof of PPG’s strategic emphasis on providing the best possible service to customers in the Asia/Pacific region, and it furthers our commitment to operating in an energy-efficient manner and with minimal environmental impact.”

The Zhangjiagang plant primarily will produce water-based electrodeposition resins, which provide a more environmentally responsible alternative to traditional resins used in automotive and general industrial coatings. The plant will span 60,000 square meters, and initial production capacity will be 27,000 metric tons/year. The plant is scheduled to begin operation in early 2011.

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