Date: August 20, 2010
Source: Dow Corning
Dow Corning's Midland manufacturing site considering biomass plant to produce steam and electricity
Dow Corning's Midland manufacturing site is considering the installation of a biomass-powered energy facility to provide a renewable, reliable and cost-effective supply of steam and electricity necessary for the site's operations.
Cirque Energy, LLC, which would build, own and operate the plant for Dow Corning, recently filed for appropriate environmental permits with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, which is the first step in the process of installing the facility.
"Dow Corning is exploring the use of renewable biomass energy to provide steam and electricity to our manufacturing operations," said Jim Smith, Dow Corning Midland site manager. "Biomass would offer our site the long-term, cost effective and renewable supply of steam and energy we need as we continue to invest and grow our Midland operations."
Biomass energy from the plant would be produced by gasification of plant-derived organic matter releasing the sun's energy these materials contain. In this way, biomass functions as a sort of natural battery for storing solar energy. As long as biomass is produced sustainably, the energy source is completely renewable. The biomass energy facility at Dow Corning's Midland site would initially use waste wood chips obtained from existing forest harvesting, mills, as well as dead trees or old growth harvested as part of sustainable forestry initiatives.
Dow Corning would require that any wood used in the Cirque Energy biomass facility be independently certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), assuring the wood is obtained and harvested sustainably.
Additionally, the biomass energy plant would include specialized gasification technology and emissions controls to provide the lowest possible air emissions. This gasification technology is regarded as the best available emissions controls by state and federal government agencies.
For more information about biomass energy, see:
National Renewable Energy Laboratories: www.nrel.gov/learning/re_biomass.html
Energy Kids U.S. Energy Information Administration www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=biomass_home#biomass_wood-basics
How biomass energy works, Union of Concerned Scientists www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/technology_and_impacts/energy_technologies/how-biomass-energy-works.html#Types_of_Biomass
The permitting process could take up to six months to complete, and will include a public comment period.
About Dow Corning
Dow Corning (www.dowcorning.com) provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company's Dow Corning® and XIAMETER® (www.xiameter.com) brands. Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the United States. Dow Corning's global operations adhere to the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care® initiative, a stringent set of standards designed to advance the safe and secure management of chemical products and processes.
Dow Corning is also the majority shareholder in the Hemlock Semiconductor Group (www.hscpoly.com) joint ventures, which includes Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation and Hemlock Semiconductor, L.L.C. Hemlock Semiconductor is a leading provider of polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices and solar cells and modules. Hemlock Semiconductor began operations in 1961 and has announced more than $4 billion of investments since 2005.
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