Just a week after announcing that its new European distribution centre had been completed, Dow Corning has advised that its Solar Energy Exploration and Development (SEED) facility in Belgium has also reached completion. The SEED centre includes a solar application centre and a silicone synthesis technology centre, which aim to help the US$13 million addition advance the company’s research of new silicon-based materials and solar cell efficiency.
“This investment will accelerate innovation and growth,” said Dr. Gregg A. Zank, vice president and chief technology officer of Dow Corning. “By having this facility in Belgium, we will have access to very talented scientific people throughout Europe to work collaboratively on sound science and technology to develop sustainable products and applications for our customers.”
The SEED complex is a showcase for various Dow Corning technologies, which make the centre more environmentally conscious. The energy-efficient architecture includes Dow Corning’s vacuum insulation panels, BIPV, structural glazed façade technology and the use of geothermal energy combined with a heat pump for heating and cooling.
“We have used and prototyped many of Dow Corning’s innovations and novel applications, pushing the limits of technical possibilities in optimizing energy use for a laboratory facility, and answering the sustainability demands of new construction standards,” says Patrick De Graeve, managing project engineer at Group IPS, the architects who designed the SEED.
The installation of lab equipment is already underway with research activities slated to begin in the first half of the year.