The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $11.3 million for two projects that aim to advance the production of cost-competitive, high-performance carbon fiber material from renewable, non-food-based feedstocks, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass.
Carbon fiber can lower the cost and improve performance of fuel-efficient vehicles and renewable energy components such as wind turbine blades. The two projects seek to demonstrate new biomass conversion technologies that enable the manufacturing of acrylonitrile—an essential feedstock for high performance carbon fiber—for less than $1 per pound.
Southern Research Institute (SRI) of Birmingham, Alabama will receive up to $5.9 million to innovate on a multi-step catalytic process for conversion of sugars from non-food biomass to acrylonitrile.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of Golden, Colorado will receive up to $5.3 million to investigate and optimize multiple pathways to bio-acrylontrile.
This funding supports the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative.