A Spain-based wind turbine OEM has opened a technology centre in Singapore to focus on advanced materials research. Gamesa’s new laboratory begins its work with three important research projects, conducted jointly with the Nanyang Technological University, the National University of Singapore, and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Gamesa expects the tech lab to employ more than 30 engineers by 2014.
The partnership with the Nanyang Technological University lets Gamesa conduct research projects on wind turbine blade coatings and methods for incorporating the materials into the company’s manufacturing systems. Along with the National University of Singapore, the company will study methods for monitoring composite materials using embedded sensors and will assess their industrial applications. Meanwhile, in conjunction with the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), a research institute of A*STAR, Gamesa will gauge the performance of turbine blades’ carbon fiber polymers after using nano-reinforcements to strengthen them. Gamesa will explore R&D in manufacturing with the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), a research institute of A*STAR.
“We are determined to offer the best solutions for generating wind energy,” says Gamesa Chairman Jorge Calvet at the facility’s opening ceremony. “Our alliance with these institutions will help us to remain at the forefront of advanced materials research, a field in which our new partners are likewise a global benchmark.”
According to Gamesa Chief Technology Officer José Antonio Malumbres, “These agreements offer potential for improving the reliability, efficiency, and availability of our wind turbines and, by extension, their cost of energy. We have found the ideal partners for this journey, and together we will remain at the cutting edge of the industry”.
Mr Yeoh Keat Chuan, Assistant Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said “We are pleased that Gamesa has decided to establish its advanced materials R&D centre in Singapore. This reflects well on Singapore’s strengths as a location for wind energy research, namely our strong R&D infrastructure, skilled cosmopolitan workforce and favourable intellectual property protection. Gamesa can also leverage complementary capabilities from industry clusters such as aerospace and offshore marine engineering, to accelerate the commercialisation of new technologies and applications.”
Added Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR,“By anchoring R&D activities here, Gamesa will have numerous opportunities to engage in many meaningful and impactful research collaborations with A*STAR, NUS, and NTU. Singapore has invested steadily in and developed systematically the R&D capabilities and infrastructure in the public sector over the last 20 years and we welcome the business sector to fully leverage on these capabilities. This is part of Singapore’s strategy to become a global R&D hub and Asia’s Innovation Capital”.
“A*STAR through its research institutes will contribute integrated and relevant expertise in clean energy technology to participate actively in Gamesa’s future growth. For example, our expertise in nanocomposite and polymer materials can be applied to strengthen the turbine blades and provide robust coatings to protect structures from the ravages of harsh environments”, said Prof Andy Hor, Executive Director of IMRE.
The new tech lab in Singapore is part of Gamesa’s strategy for becoming a global standard-bearer in lowering turbines’ cost of energy (COE), based on the reliability, efficiency and availability of its current and future catalogue of products and services.
Gamesa plans to cut its customers’ cost of energy by 20% through 2013 and by 30% through 2015 by introducing new products (five onshore and offshore turbine systems) and developing new applied technologies, maintenance improvements, etc.
The company’s commitment to R&D calls for boosting engineering hours (to 1.5 million hours per year) and doubling its number of R&D staff through 2013.
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