The Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.) announced on Feb. 25 that it received a $5 million grant from the Centers of Energy Excellence (COEE) program through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) to help accelerate efforts to manufacture a lower-cost carbon fiber for use in industrial market applications, including transportation. Dow will work to significantly reduce carbon fiber manufacturing costs through innovative polymer precursor development incorporating energy-efficient processing, in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tenn.). According to the office of Michigan’s governor Jennifer Granholm, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoE) is providing $5 million in matching funds (through ORNL) and Dow intends to contribute as much as $10 million to the effort in in-kind resources.
ORNL has worked for years on developing alternative and less-costly precursor materials, including kraft lignin and commodity-grade polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor, as well as more cost-effective methods to convert the precursor into fiber form and oxidize it (see CT December 2003 (p. 6) or visit short.compositesworld.com/qHRflPqT).
According to Dow, the project will assist in transforming and diversifying Michigan’s economy through alternative energy generation, as well as manufacturing associated with the wind energy and transportation industries.
Editor PickBASF’s student competition looks for superior finish on carbon fiber composites
Competition open to U.S. and Canadian Ph.D. students and young researchers.