University of Tennessee to head $250M advanced composites manufacturing institute; Ford, Honda and Volkswagen members
The Department of Energy and a consortium of 122 companies, nonprofits, and universities led by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will invest more than $250 million—$70 million in federal funds and more than $180 million in non-federal funds—to launch a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites—the fifth institute to be awarded of the eight national institute competitions launched earlier (earlier post).
The new Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), announced today by President Obama, will focus on advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites that combine strong fibers with tough plastics to yield materials that are lighter and stronger than steel. While advanced composites are used in selective industries such as aircraft, satellites and cars, these materials remain expensive, require large amounts of energy to manufacture and are difficult to recycle. IACMI is dedicated to overcoming these barriers by developing low-cost, high-production, energy-efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for composites applications.
Advanced composites are especially important for progressing clean energy generation and improving the efficiency of the nation’s fleet. In automotive applications, advanced composites could reduce the weight of a passenger car by 50% and improve its fuel efficiency by roughly 35% without compromising performance or safety.
In the wind energy industry, advances in low-cost composite materials will help manufacturers build longer, lighter and stronger blades to create more energy. Doubling the length of a turbine blade can help quadruple the amount of electricity generated.
The Institute will focus on lowering the overall manufacturing costs of advanced composites by 50%, reducing the energy used to make composites by 75% and increasing the recyclability of composites to over 95% within the next decade.
The new institute pairs leading carbon fiber producers and suppliers—such as Materials Innovation Technologies, Harper International, and Strongwell—with key end users such as TPI for wind turbines and Ford, Honda and Volkswagen for automobiles.
As part of ongoing commitment to the US market, Volkswagen Group of America is proud to dedicate our vast technological resources and automotive manufacturing expertise to help IACMI expand the American workforce and overcome current barriers to the use of advanced composite materials. We will work with a variety of public and private partners to ultimately create jobs and boost global manufacturing competitiveness.—Matthias Erb, Executive Vice President, Engineering & Planning, Volkswagen Group of America
The new hub will also unite these manufacturers with research universities, such as the University of Tennessee with its pioneering 3D printed carbon fiber research, and the University of Kentucky with the largest US open-access carbon-fiber chemistry laboratory.
The winning team, led by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, has established a new not-for-profit organization headquartered in Knoxville, TN and includes the following 86 key partners and 36 additional consortia members:
57 Companies: A&P Technology, Inc.; Adherent Technologies, Inc.; Altair; Ashland Performance Materials; Assembly Guidance Systems, Inc.; BASF Company; Boeing Company; Celanese International; Continental Structural Plastics; Convergent Manufacturing Technologies; Cytec Engineered Materials; Dassault Systemes Americas Corp.; Dow Chemical Company; DowAksa; DuPont; ESI North America; Evonik Corporation; Faurecia US Holdings; Fives; Ford Motor Company; GE Water & Power; Graco Inc.; GrafTech International; Heil Trailer International; Herty Advanced Materials Development Center; Hills, Inc.; Honda R&D Americas, Inc.; Huntsman Polyurethanes; IN3 Applications; Johns Manville; LayStitch Technologies; LM Wind Power; Local Motors; Lockheed Martin; Materials Innovation Technologies; McWhinney Real Estate Services; Michelman Inc.; Milacron Plastics Technologies Group; Momentive; North Coast Tool & Mold Corp.; Owens Corning; Phoenix Integration; PolyNEW, Inc.; PolyOne Corporation; PPG Industries, Inc.; SABIC Innovative Plastics US; SAERTEX USA, LLC; Strongwell Inc.; Thogus Products Company; Toray Composites (America), Inc.; TPI Composites, Inc.; Vestas Americas; Volkswagen; Wetzel Engineering; Williams, White & Company; Wolf Robotics, LLC; and Xperion.
15 Universities and Laboratories: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Colorado School of Mines; Colorado State University; Iowa State University; Michigan State University; Mississippi State University; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Purdue University; The Ohio State University; University of Colorado-Boulder; University of Dayton Research Institute; University of Kentucky; University of Michigan; and Vanderbilt University.
14 Other Entities: Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI); Abaris Training Resources, Inc.; American Chemical Council; National Composites Center; Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium; Polymer Ohio, Inc.; Southern Research Institute; Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade; Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Michigan Economic and Community Development; Ohio Development Services Agency; State of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; State of Tennessee; and University of Tennessee Research Foundation.
36 Consortia Members: Alcoa Inc.; 3M Company; BioCycle, LLC; Braskem America; BST Nano Carbon; Chomarat North America; Cincinnati Incorporated; Concordia Fibers; Eaton Corporation; EWI; Fiber-Tech Industries, Inc.; FibrTech; Global Wind Network (GLWN); Harper International; Hexagon Lincoln; Ingersoll Machine Tools; Interlaken Technology; International Fibers, Ltd.; Johnson Controls, Inc; Koppers; Materia, Inc.; Mentis Sciences, Inc; Michigan Molecular Institute; Nexgen Composites; NONA Composites, LLC; Oerlikon Metco; OshKosh Corporation; Plasan Carbon Composites; PlastiComp; Quickstep Composites, LLC; Rocky Mountain Institute; The Magni Group; Techmer ES; Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.; United Technologies Research Center; and XG Sciences.