Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tenn., USA) announced on July 14 that 14 companies have agreed to join with the lab to establish the Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium, which will work to accelerate the development, demonstration and commercial application of new low-cost carbon fiber and composites materials in many different industry sectors.
Charter members of the consortium include Dow Chemical Co., 3M Co., Faurecia, Toho Tenax America, Plasan Carbon Composites, Composite Applications Group, Umeco Composites Structural Materials, Graftech International, United Technologies Research Center, Harper International, Hills Material and Chemistry Laboratory, SSOE Group, Innovation Valley and UT-Battelle, the managing contractor for ORNL.
For the past decade ORNL has led the Department of Energy's low-cost carbon fiber initiative. ORNL is designing and constructing the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, a $35 million pilot plant capable of producing up to 25 tons of new low-cost carbon fibers from several different precursors.
Consortium members will convene twice annually for briefings on ORNL's research, development and demonstration efforts in carbon fiber composites, and to provide critical insights into market trends and opportunities. The market for carbon fiber composites is expected to grow significantly over the next several years, especially in key markets such as automotive, wind energy, oil and gas, infrastructure and various industrial applications.
"Engaging industrial partners all along the value chain is a critically important aspect of ORNL's carbon fiber composites program," said ORNL director Thom Mason. "Our ultimate goal is to help businesses develop new commercial applications of low-cost carbon fibers and composites that will help our country address our goal of energy independence."
The consortium will host its inaugural meeting in September in Oak Ridge. Additional members are welcome to join the consortium. For more information about membership dues and benefits, please see the consortium website at www.cfcomposites.org or contact Tom Rogers, ORNL's director of Industrial Partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.