Innovation Valley Unveils Carbon Fiber Technology Facility

Officials from the United States Energy Department, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Ford Motor Company, and Dow Chemical, along with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, cut the ribbon yesterday on a new Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Innovation Valley.

The 42,000-square-foot facility will produce up to 25 tons of carbon fiber each year providing clean energy companies and researchers with the material, infrastructure, and technical resources necessary for the development of less expensive, better performing carbon fiber materials to be used in various manufacturing processes.

“The new facility paired with the current Carbon Fiber Consortium will put Innovation Valley at the forefront of for companies that are considering using this advanced material in their processes, particularly in the area of automotive component manufacturing,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president for Economic Development at the Knoxville Chamber.

A strong, stiff, lightweight material, carbon fiber is expected to help American manufacturers dramatically lower the cost and improve the performance of wind turbines, energy storage components, and fuel-efficient vehicles.

“This continues ORNL’s track record of developing new materials and processes that spawn new products and industries,” said Chairman of Innovation Valley and Director of ORNL Thom Mason. “We translate basic science into the innovation that creates jobs, and our new facility will help establish the U.S. establish a leadership position in the growing carbon fiber manufacturing sector, and the Innovation Valley region as a vital piece of that initiative.”

Supported by a $35 million grant funded through the federal government’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, the facility is part of a national movement focused on growing American manufacturing of clean energy productivity. For more information on the facility and Innovation Valley’s involvement in carbon fiber manufacturing, visit www.ornl.gov/manufacturing.