DuPont Co. will expand its high-performance Tedlar films capacity to keep up with growing demand in photovoltaic markets.
DuPont is targeting a late 2009 startup but the project's location and construction start won't be revealed until later this year. The expansion will more than double DuPont's Tedlar capacity and would be the largest-ever capital investment in the films.
Last year it boosted Tedlar capacity at its Fayetteville, N.C., facility at a cost of $50 million, said spokesman Dan Turner. It also makes the films in Louisville, Ky.; Buffalo, N.Y. and Towanda, Pa.
Tedlar is based on polyvinyl fluoride. In photovoltaic modules, it acts as a backsheet where it provides weather resistance, ultraviolet resistance and moisture barrier properties, prolonging the modules' life. It's been a standard material for the application for more than 25 years, according to the Wilmington, Del., firm.
``The photovoltaic industry is in the midst of a substantial surge globally, and the demand for solar energy continues to increase,'' noted Cynthia Green, vice president and general manager of DuPont Fluoroproducts, in a news release.
DuPont recently introduced new grades of Tedlar, the 2100 series. They provide processing advantages and lower shrinkage compared with the 2000 series, a boon to the module laminating process. The new series also gives 15 percent more reflectivity, boosting power in modules that use backsheet reflectance.
Other markets for Tedlar include aerospace, construction and graphic arts that take advantage of the films' durability and weatherability.
``This project underscores our commitment to sustainability and providing products that deliver clean, renewable energy for people around the world,'' Green said.
DuPont forecasts the photovoltaic market will grow by more than 50 percent in each of the next few years, pushing demand for existing and new materials that are more cost effective.