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NYSERDA Grant Powers ESF Center to Aid Manufacturing

$900,000 grant establishes Ultraviolet, Electron-Beam Curing Technology Center

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and RadTech International today announced the establishment of a research, development and industrial testing center to help make manufacturing processes in New York more energy efficient, environmentally friendly and economical.

NYSERDA will provide nearly $1 million in funding for the Ultraviolet Light (UV) and Electron Beam (EB) Process Curing Systems Technology Center on the ESF campus.

The goal is to develop environmentally friendly ways to make an assortment of coatings and resins dry more quickly - nearly instantaneously - thereby reducing both costs and emissions while streamlining manufacturing processes.

The center will help development formulas that produce little to no harmful emissions in the manufacture and application of inks, paints and coatings, as well as resin binders used in the fabrication of composite materials such as fiberglass composites used to make wind turbine blades.

ESF's Dr. Mark Driscoll, who will direct the center, said the facility will allow manufacturers to test the UV and EB technologies to see how they can apply the new technologies to their businesses before investing in equipment. Cost savings with UV and EB processes are typically significant enough that the equipment pays for itself within two or three years, he said. Driscoll's co-director will be Dr. Jennifer Smith of ESF's Department of Sustainable Construction Management and Engineering.

Industrial partners in the project include Knowlton Technologies of Watertown, a manufacturer of engineered composites and wet-laid non-woven materials; Transparent Materials of Rochester, a manufacturer of surface functionalized, self assembling nanomaterials for dental and biomedical composites; IBA Industrial of Long Island, an electron beam equipment manufacturer; and MAS Associates of Indian Lake, a manufacturer of data acquisition and automation systems.

Over the past several years, NYSERDA has partnered with RadTech International, the Association for UV & EB Technology, to promote UV and EB clean energy technologies to manufacturers in New York State. The addition of the ESF center establishes Syracuse as a center of competence for this advanced clean energy technology.

"The selection of this center is the result of NYSERDA's jointly sponsored work with RadTech International," said Francis J. Murray, Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. "The Center offers assistance to help New York-based manufacturers adopt ultraviolet light and electron beam-curing technologies that can dramatically cut costs and waste, enable New York State manufacturers to remain competitive and reduce air emissions."

Dr. Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., ESF president, said: "The center is an excellent opportunity for SUNY-ESF's students, faculty and technical staff to work closely with New York State manufacturers on energy efficient curing and manufacturing processes. The College will help develop and transfer the latest in energy-efficient ultraviolet light and electron beam technologies to the coating, adhesive and composite industries in New York State. These new technologies will help New York State-based companies be more competitive by reducing costs and marketing more environmentally friendly products."

RadTech's uv.eb East 2011 Conference, which will be held in Syracuse on Oct. 4-5 2011, will highlight the capabilities of the new center and will introduce and promote the technology to industries including metal, plastics, wood finishing, packaging and printing, medical devices and electronics applications.

"NYSERDA demonstrates tremendous leadership and vision in U.S. manufacturing through its support of UV and EB technologies," says Howard Ragin, of DSM NeoResins and President of RadTech. "The establishment of the technology center and continued support of uv.eb EAST offers great potential to position the state as a global leader in this fast emerging technology." uv.eb EAST 2011 will be the second biennial conference co-sponsored by RadTech and NYSERDA.