The Dow project, Scale-Up of Novel Low-Cost Carbon Fibers Leading to High-Volume Commercial Launch, will be carried out in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Ford Motor Company.

Its objective is to develop a lower cost carbon fibre production process that uses polyolefin in place of conventional polyacrylonitrile (PAN) as the feedstock. This process could potentially reduce production costs by 20%.

Low-cost carbon fibre has widespread potential applications in cars, wind turbines and other industrial applications.

Earlier this year, Ford and Dow Automotive Systems announced a partnership to research the use of carbon fibre composites in high-volume vehicles. Cutting the weight of new cars and trucks by up to 750 lbs by the end of the decade is a key component of Ford's strategy to improve fuel efficiency.

Energy-saving technologies

Industrial processes consume about one-third of all energy produced in the US.
Energy Department

The Energy Department award to Dow is part of more than $54 million in funding to 13 projects which will develop manufacturing technologies to help American manufacturers increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs, thus improving the competitive position of US industry.

Industrial processes consume about one-third of all energy produced in the US and so there is a huge opportunity to boost American competitiveness through advances in energy-saving technologies.

The full list of projects is available here.