LeMond Composites will begin manufacturing a new industry-disrupting carbon fiber for the transportation, renewable energy and infrastructure markets at its Oak Ridge, TN manufacturing facility, adjacent to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Carbon Fiber Technology Facility. The company will invest $125 million in its first carbon fiber production line, and create 242 new jobs.
LeMond Composites has secured a licensing agreement with ORNL which will make it the first company to offer this new high-volume, low-cost carbon fiber to the transportation, renewable energy, and infrastructure markets.
“We can provide the advantages of our carbon fiber to many industries by improving strength, stiffness and weight reduction,” said Connie Jackson, CEO of LeMond Composites. “If you imagine replacing steel, aluminum and fiberglass with our carbon fiber, you can begin to understand the scope of the potential market. Our process will have global applications and we are ready to move forward with scaling the technology.”
“We have assembled the only team in the world that has executed this proven technology that uniquely positions us to deliver a successful outcome for our customers and stakeholders,” said Greg LeMond, co-founder of LeMond Composites. “From our experience, I know that having the right team is a distinct business advantage.”
The breakthrough process invented by Jackson and a research team at ORNL’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF) will significantly reduce production costs relative to the lowest cost of industrial grade carbon fiber. This new carbon fiber has the mechanical properties of carbon fiber, but costs significantly less. Until now, manufacturing carbon fiber was an extremely energy-intensive process. This new method greatly reduces energy consumed during production.
“The successful transition of this technology to the private sector demonstrates the Department of Energy’s commitment to invest in scientific research and development to address the nation’s energy challenges and deliver solutions to the marketplace,” said Thomas Zacharia, ORNL deputy director for science and technology.
“LeMond Composites’ new carbon fiber technology, licensed from ORNL, has the potential to transform the automotive and aerospace industries as well as renewable energy and infrastructure markets,” said Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd. “This decision to invest in Tennessee underscores the incredible resources ORNL has to offer companies looking to tap into one of the world’s top research centers, and one that is constantly on the cutting edge of new scientific and technological breakthroughs.”
LeMond Composites plans to break ground on the new facility in January 2017. The first commercially available product will be ready in the first quarter of 2018.
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