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Editor's highlights

There have been some significant developments in the composites industry this month.

Start-up LeMond Composites has secured a licensing agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the latter’s method for slashing the cost of producing carbon fibre. 

The method – developed by team of researchers at ORNL's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF) in Tennessee, USA, which included Connie Jackson – could reduce the cost of carbon fibre by as much as 50%, and the energy used in its production by more than 60%.

Jackson has joined LeMond Composites as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and the company plans to build its first carbon fibre line at its premises adjacent to the CFTF in Oak Ridge.  

The company plans to launch its first commercial product in the first quarter of 2018.

This low-cost carbon fibre could be just what the automotive industry needs as it seeks to adopt carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for high-volume applications.

To achieve this goal, many also believe that the CFRP industry needs to consolidate.

Enter Teijin Ltd, which is to acquire North American automotive composites supplier Continental Structural Plastics Holdings (CSP) Corp for US$825 million.

Through this transaction, Teijin aims to expand its offerings beyond carbon fibre and glass fibre materials to component design, and to implement a global supply chain.

With this move, it seems like the use of Teijin’s reinforced thermoplastics in the automotive industry is poised to increase significantly.

Finally, ELG Carbon Fibre has started production of a range of nonwoven mats on a production line designed specifically to process recycled carbon fibres. Such mats are significantly cheaper than those manufactured using virgin fibres while demonstrating similar mechanical properties.

ELG Carbon Fibre will be talking about its nonwovens at the International Conference on Nonwovens for High-performance Applications (7-8 March 2017, Prague, Czech Republic) the programme for which is now available to view online, along with speaker biographies and abstracts.

The International Conference on Nonwovens for High-performance Applications is a high-level, commercially focussed symposium which addresses the issues of entering and expanding in the advanced nonwovens market, and is designed to inform delegates about the latest technical developments and opportunities offered by technical nonwovens for high-performance applications.

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