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USGNN Original StoryQuestions Continue to Swirl around Freedom Tower Glass
April 2, 2009

As reported in Tuesday's USGNN.com™ investigative report, the glass for One World Trade Center is coming from a Chinese manufacturer (CLICK HERE for that story). This news comes after PPG performed significant development work to produce its Starphire glass at a special thickness.

Tuesday's story included this statement from Port Authority spokesperson Steve Coleman. "Our contract is with DCM/Solera. That firm hired a sub, Zetian, an American company, to procure the glass from a Chinese manufacturer which is producing the 'starlite' low-iron glass under the Pittsburgh glass license," says Coleman.

Rob Struble, business commercial manager for PPG's Performance Glazings division, has confirmed to USGNN.com™ today that PPG has a technology license, including low-iron (but not Starphire glass) with Shandong Glass Group. "Our agreement does not allow them to ship to the U.S. unless it is fabricated in China or part of a finished good," says Struble.

"We still are of a mind that the glass used on the project should be the specified Starphire and sourced locally," he adds. "This does not change our earlier statements of disappointment that the owners have taken this supply tact."

It is important to point out that this license is not for Starphire as PPG does not license that technology. PPG licenses low-iron and other float glass technologies around the world, including oxy-fuel which enables glass makers to reduce their energy consumption and environmental impact. PPG's patent for low-iron glass dates back to 1989.

"Other glass companies also market low-iron and low-iron glass making technologies globally," says Struble.

In an effort to address the difference between Starphire and low-iron glass, Struble points out that the quality of low iron glass is measured in parts per million (PPM) of iron.

"Starphire is under 100 PPM," says Struble. "Our license agreements in general mandate thresholds on PPM that don't approach that range."

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