Hundreds of composites experts from industry, government and academia gathered at the Knoxville Convention Center (Knoxvill, TN, US) on June 17 for the launch of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are among IACMI's founding research partners.
A signing ceremony between the US Department of Energy and IACMI representatives marked the official start of business for the newly established institute, which was announced in January by President Barack Obama.
IACMI will work with industry to reduce technical risk and develop a robust supply chain for advanced composite materials in automotive components, wind turbines and compressed gas storage applications. Funded with $70 million in federal funds and more than $180 million in nonfederal funds, IACMI will focus on making advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites less expensive and less energy intensive, helping give America's resurging manufacturing sector a more competitive edge in the global economy.
"The DOE investment in IACMI will catalyze increased production capacity of carbon fiber and other materials important to U.S. leadership in advanced composite manufacturing," said IACMI CEO Craig Blue.
The IACMI team, a 123-member consortium headquartered in Tennessee, is led and operated by a not-for-profit organization established by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation that connects the world's leading manufacturers across the supply chain with universities and national laboratories pioneering advanced composites technology development and research.
"We look forward to working with the composites industry — OEMs, their supply chains, and small and medium enterprises — around accelerating innovation," said Taylor Eighmy, co-chair of IACMI's board. "Composites are critical to our national economy and we have a wonderful chance to position our economy at the leading edge for the next few decades."
IACMI is the fifth institute chosen in support of the president's overall vision for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The public-private partnership was selected through a competitive process led by the Advanced Manufacturing Office within the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
In addition to UT and ORNL, the institute's founding research partners include Colorado (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Indiana (Purdue University), Michigan (Michigan State University), Ohio (University of Dayton Research Institute) and Kentucky (University of Kentucky).