The ACE Accelerator Project is designed to further develop the composite material/carbon fiber cluster in East Tennessee and establish the region as the nation’s epicenter for low cost composite material/carbon fiber. This strategic focus will help support the national energy effort through the development of light weight and low cost materials for the energy sector, transportation sector, and other industries.








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The ACE Accelerator Project is jointly funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (60%), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) (30%) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) (10%). Federal funding totals $1.6 million (75% of total cost). SBA’s funding should not be construed as an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All SBA-funded projects are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

ACE Accelerator: EDA Activities

Technology commercialization services that strengthen and grow the advanced material cluster in East Tennessee. Services include marketing and outreach to promote growth opportunities for existing industry and consulting and financial assistance to help companies access University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) expertise and successfully adopt advanced material technologies.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and decreasing dependence on foreign oil are priorities of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping meet these challenges by exploring the use of low-cost carbon fiber composite materials in automotive production to decrease vehicle weight and fuel demand. The lab is also studying its use in other applications such as wind energy generation and industrial technologies.

An internationally recognized leader in low-cost carbon fiber research and development, ORNL operates the only general access carbon fiber manufacturing research facility in the DOE laboratory system. For more than ten years, it has worked with government and industry to address commercialization challenges, including cost and manufacturing limitations.

To help overcome these barriers, ORNL is aggressively researching less expensive alternative precursors, advanced technologies for converting conventional and alternative precursors to carbon fiber, and low-cost composite design and manufacturing capabilities:

ORNL also has extensive resources and capabilities in material characterization through several state of the art facilities:

Halcyon Commercialization (Building 2033)
Roane State Composites Lab Capabilities and Equipment:

  1. Industry lab use or tailored training. Semester long classroom and laboratory classes tuition paid for qualified students.
  2. Lab Orientation Operations/procedures/safety/storage/cleanup and disposal. Respirator Care and Fit Kit, Paint Booth, Chemical safety and Storage.
  3. Tooling Care/wax/setup/storage/releases/curing.
  4. Hand Layup Lab – both Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass, Prepreg and wet layup material.
  5. Gel coat Application lab- gel coat cup gun, spray gun shop air driven.
  6. Vacuum Infusion Lab- Vacuum pumps, vacuum shop air venturi.
  7. Spray up Lab- Magnum Venus Plastec Patriot Chop Sprayer
  8. Infusion lab RTM – Magnum Venus Patriot Resin Infusion Equipment
  9. Filament winder training lab. McClean Anderson Programmable Super Hornet filament winder part size up to 30 inch diameter, 315 inches long.
  10. Platen Press Lab- Wabash Heated Platen Press.
  11. Composite Repair Lab- Heatcon Dual Zone Composite Repair System

For more EDA ACE Accelerator information, please complete and submit an expression of interest form.

ACE_Partner_Logos_Box_VerticalACE Accelerator: SBA Activities
Technical assistance to small businesses for technology transfer and commercialization opportunities with a goal to foster entrepreneurship, strengthen firms’ competitiveness, and grow well-paying jobs. Firms participating in the activities need to be eligible under the 7(j) criteria, described below:

  • A socially and economically disadvantaged individual whose firm is a participant in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development (8(a) BD) Program.
  • A small business concern located in a HUBZone. Click here to view qualifying locations.
  • A firm located in a high unemployment or low income area, as defined in the U.S. Census Bureau’s County and City Data Book and in the Poverty Guidelines issued by HHS.
  • A firm or prospective firm owned by a low-income individual. Click here to learn how “low-income” is defined by the HHS Poverty Guidelines.

For more SBA ACE Accelerator information, please email [email protected]

ACE Accelerator: DOL Activities
Training for individuals to achieve an A.A.S. Degree to prepare for jobs in the advanced materials industry, such as mold prep and maintenance technician, resin prep technician, automated controls technician, electro-mechanical technician, industrial engineering technician and industrial production management positions. Funding activities provide:

  • Recruitment of potential program candidates
  • Hands-on experience in an industry-designed composites laboratory
  • Opportunities for tuition support
  • Job placement services

For more DOL ACE Accelerator information, please email [email protected].

For more information, general questions, or to receive announcements and updates, please email [email protected].