"We want to actively support one of the most ambitious infrastructure products in the world by taking part in the Desertec Consortium“, said Dr. Suat Akyol, Manager New Technologies at 3M Germany based in Neuss. "As one of the first companies providing nanoscale multilayer polymer films for optical applications on an industrial scale, we have developed a mirror film, for example, which enables lightweight highly-reflective mirror constructions for solar power plants. Our wide-ranging know-how means that we can both facilitate use of established technologies for renewable energies and also develop innovative solutions especially for the wind and solar sectors."
3M, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, is one of the most widely-diversified companies in the world. One of its particular strengths is the varied use - often in combination - of its more than 40 technology platforms. At the German 3M headquarters in Neuss the company’s know-how for the solar and wind industries was bundled into the "Renewable Energy" business unit last year. 3M also established a European Research Center for wind, solar and geothermal energy creation. Application solutions for these industries are based on a selection of core competencies in the areas of films, tapes, adhesives and coatings.
Examples of products for the solar industry include encapsulating films designed to protect solar cells, as well as mirror films or Fresnel lenses for sunlight concentration. Innovative coatings are also soon to make surfaces more resistant and will also enable faster and simpler cleaning.
The wind industry has been relying on know-how from 3M for more than ten years, where special adhesive tapes have proven to
be valueable in protecting the edges of rotor blades. In future, it is intended to increase the efficiency and reliability of wind
turbines still further with the help of films, tapes, adhesives and also coatings from 3M.
3M will also contribute its know-how in the area of high-voltage overhead conductors to the Desertec Consortium. The company
has developed a conductor based on ceramic-fiber reinforced aluminum which can carry twice as mush electricity as conventional steel cables, even under the most challenging climatic conditions.
About the Desertec Industrial Initiative
The Desertec Industrial Initiative aims to create the framework generating sustainable and climate-friendly power in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East and to prepare integration with the European power network. The long-term objective is to satisfy a substantial part of the energy needs of the MENA countries and meet as much as 15% of Europe's electricity demand. The Dii (Desertec Industrial Initiative) currently consists of 17 shareholders. Among the founding members are ABB, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, HSH Nordbank, MAN Solar Millennium, Munich Re, RWE and Siemens. Since the beginning of February, the industrial initiative has gained the support of Klaus Töpfer, member of the German Christian Democratic party and former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as an advisor.
A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of markets. 3M´s core strength is applying its more than 40 distinct technology platforms – often in combination – to a wide array of customer needs. With more than $23 billion in sales, 3M employs 75,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries.