LeMond Composites, Deakin University sign licensing agreement for carbon fiber production

In the $44 million deal, LeMond will license technology developed by Deakin’s carbon fiber research center, Carbon Nexus.

LeMond Composites (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) has entered into an exclusive 20-year licensing agreement worth $44 million with Deakin University in Australia to commercialize its patent pending manufacturing process to increase production of high performance, low-cost carbon fiber. According to a press release, the licensed process will enable LeMond Composites to commercialize carbon fiber production “faster than anyone else currently in the marketplace.”

LeMond Composites is about to secure its first supply agreement with a commercial customer, and will use the new process to manufacture and sell carbon fiber starting in September 2017.

“Deakin University’s process oxidizes carbon fiber faster, with lower capital and energy costs and greater output of carbon fiber over a shorter period,” says Nicolas Wegener, COO of LeMond. “The process requires 75 percent less energy and also reduces the amount of process equipment by 75 percent. These factors make the production of low-cost carbon fiber scalable at a velocity that can keep up with the market demand.”

The immediate result of Deakin University’s licensed process is a low-cost carbon fiber product delivered in a standard format that is consistent with the requirements of today’s composite industry. This ensures quick adoption of LeMond’s low-cost carbon fiber, which will initially be commercially available as a manufactured product from the Carbon Nexus facility. LeMond will begin construction of a new commercial carbon fiber facility located in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Construction will begin this year.

“The ability to scale production, along with our low-cost carbon fiber is what will allow LeMond Composites to deliver this material to the masses,” says Greg LeMond, three-time Tour de France champion and CEO/Founder of LeMond Composites. “Deakin University’s manufacturing process will make it possible to localize manufacturing and make carbon fiber technology more accessible to a wider range of industries like transportation, renewable energy and infrastructure or any industry that benefits from using lighter, stronger, safer materials.”

In addition, LeMond Composites will also consider the development of a carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Geelong, Australia. which would invest more than $30 million in construction and equipment, and create dozens of jobs for Geelong manufacturers. The specialized carbon fiber production machinery for the plant will be manufactured by Furnace Engineering in Clayton, Victoria.

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