A new carbon fiber company that includes three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond plans to build a carbon fiber production line in west Oak Ridge to make composites for use in transportation, renewable energy, and infrastructure, and LeMond thinks the Knoxville area will become the world hub for carbon fiber.
The new company, LeMond Composites, has signed a licensing agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and it has purchased the former Theragenics building at Horizon Center, where CVMR, an international company that uses ore concentrates to create pure metal powders, had once planned to locate its headquarters and research and development.
LeMond Composites closed on the property, which includes about 21 acres, on July 21 for $5.4 million. It’s right next to ORNL’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, or CFTF, at Horizon Center. Renovations at the former Theragenics building are already under way.
Carbon fiber is light, stiff, and strong, a press release said. That makes it the perfect material for advanced composites in a variety of applications, including transportation, renewable energy, and infrastructure, the release said. It can be used to improve efficiency, save energy, and build or repair vehicles and planes, wind turbines and containers, and bridges and tunnels.
But the biggest obstacle to its widespread use has been its high cost. [Read more…]