New agreement to produce low cost carbon fiber

LeMond Composites, a company offering solutions for high-volume, low-cost carbon fiber, has secured a licensing agreement with the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The agreement will make the Oak Ridge-based LeMond Composites the first company to offer this new industry-disrupting carbon fiber to the transportation, renewable energy, and infrastructure markets, the company said.

‘We can provide the advantages of our carbon fiber to many industries by improving strength, stiffness, and weight reduction,’ claimed Connie Jackson, CEO of LeMond Composites. ‘Our process will have global applications and we are ready to move forward with scaling the technology.’

A process invented by Jackson and a research team at ORNL’s carbon fiber technology facility (CFTF) reportedly reduces production costs by more than 50%, relative to the lowest cost Industrial grade carbon fiber. While manufacturing carbon fiber is an energy-intensive process, the new method could reduce energy consumed during production by up to 60%.

‘The development of this new process demonstrates the value of coupling basic and applied research, which is a hallmark of ORNL, and it underscores the Department of Energy’s commitment to addressing our nation’s most pressing energy challenges,’ said Thom Mason, Oak Ridge National Laboratory director. ‘The Department’s sustained investments in scientific research and development and in specialized facilities such as CFTF are enabling a variety of applications that will lead to improvements in fuel efficiency and position US industry for global success.’

ORNL’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility began operations in 2012, supported by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing and Vehicle Technologies offices, to demonstrate the possibility of low-cost carbon fiber at a semi-production scale.

This story is reprinted from material from ORNL, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.