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Massive investment in R&D reaps rewards

Investment into Research and Development is important for many global operators within the wind energy sector, but for The Dow Chemical Company, it’s the cornerstone of its operations. Ram Ramachandran, Director of End Use Marketing for Dow Wire & Cable, discusses his company’s $1 billion annual R&D outlay, its commitment to collaboration, and his thoughts on the future of the industry.

PES: Welcome to PES, can you first explain a little about how wind power fits into your company’s product offerings, and give us an idea of the strength of the market at present?
Ram Ramachandran: Wind power and other renewable energy solutions are a natural fit for Dow Wire & Cable. No matter what the power source, reliable long-life power cables are essential to transmit and distribute power. We are a global leader in providing exceptional jacketing, insulation and semiconductive materials for LV, MV, HV and EHV power cables.

Obviously, the renewable energy market will continue to get stronger as long-term viable solutions are realised. Dow Wire & Cable certainly sees the opportunity for growth in this arena and we are working to get in front of the appropriate influencers to grow along with the market.

PES: We note that your AIRSTONE solutions further serve the market, can you tell us a little about them?
RR: AIRSTONE Systems are a product family based on Dow’s epoxy chemistry and technology. The products are used to make wind turbine blades lighter, stronger and easier to manufacture. With continuing efforts to develop and offer turbines of higher capacity, such technology improvements will be of value to the industry. The business can be contacted at: www.dow.com/epoxysystems/solutions/windenergy

PES: The company works with industry experts to refine its products – do you feel that collaboration is a valuable working practice?
RR: Absolutely. For cable makers, materials’ consistency, ease of processing, and manufacturing efficiency are crucial. For utilities, long-life, reliable power supply is essential. We collaborate with both to ensure that our materials are optimised to deliver the result desired. Beyond that, our 60 years experience uniquely positions us to engage in conversations and collaborative activity within the entire value chain, including industry professional associations, testing institutes, legislators and non-government organisations (NGOs).


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