Source: Chattanoogan.com | October 12, 2016
LeMond Composites announced recently the company will begin manufacturing a new industry-disrupting carbon fiber for the transportation, renewable energy and infrastructure markets. LeMond Composites will invest $125 million to expand its campus by building its first carbon fiber production line at its facility at 103 Palladium Way in Oak Ridge, which is located adjacent to Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility. The announcement represents the creation of 242 new jobs in Roane County.
“We want to thank LeMond Composites for its significant investment in Tennessee and creating 242 new, high-skilled jobs in Roane County,” Governor Bill Haslam said. “Oak Ridge National Laboratory is one of the state’s greatest assets, and the partnership between LeMond and ORNL will only strengthen Tennessee’s world-renowned reputation for manufacturing advanced, innovative products. LeMond Composites’ decision to invest in Tennessee brings us another step closer toward of goal of being the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
“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,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “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. On behalf of Team Tennessee, I’d like to thank LeMond Composites for its investment and commitment to create nearly 250 new jobs in Roane County.”
Offering solutions for high-volume, low-cost carbon fiber, LeMond Composites has secured a licensing agreement with U.S. Department of Energy’s ORNL. The agreement will make LeMond Composites the first company to offer this new industry-disrupting 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,” Connie Jackson, CEO of LeMond Composites, said. “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,” Greg LeMond, co-founder of LeMond Composites, said. “From our experience, I know that having the right team is a distinct business advantage.”
The breakthrough process invented by Ms. Jackson and a research team at ORNL’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility 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, said officials.
“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.
Local officials and the Tennessee Valley Authority praised LeMond Composites’ decision to locate its production operations in Oak Ridge.
“On behalf of the city of Oak Ridge, I am extremely pleased to support their announcement of a licensing agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and their development of our first major manufacturing facility dedicated to the production of carbon fiber,” Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch said. “Although LeMond Industries is widely known for their use of carbon fiber in the bicycle industry, we know that the innovation possibilities of this material are limitless and will be marked in the future with a ‘Made in Oak Ridge, Tennessee’ name.”
“Roane County is excited for another successful project announcement in our community,” said Roane County Executive Ron Woody. “We anticipate LeMond Composites being the first of many projects recognizing the multiple amenities Roane County and the region has to offer. Being one of the premier national labs, the Oak Ridge National Lab operated by UT Battelle is truly an anchor in which new technologies and businesses will be developed. We welcome LeMond Composites to our family of new and upcoming technologies and businesses and we stand ready to assist in their new business venture.”
“TVA and Oak Ridge Electric Department congratulate LeMond Composites on its decision to locate in Oak Ridge, Tennessee,” said TVA Senior Vice President John Bradley. “Helping to foster new, quality job creation in the Valley is at the core of TVA’s mission of service. We are proud to partner with the city of Oak Ridge, the Roan Alliance, and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to help further that mission.”
LeMond Composites plans to break ground on the new facility in January. The first commercially available product will be ready in the first quarter of 2018.