LeMond Composites, the company founded by three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, has entered into a global, exclusive 20-year licensing agreement with Deakin University in Australia to commercialize their patent-pending manufacturing process to increase production of high performance, low-cost carbon fiber. Last year, when the process was first introduced, LeMond Composites dubbed it “the most significant development in carbon fiber production in over 50 years.”
“Deakin University’s process oxidizes carbon fiber faster, with lower capital and energy costs and greater output of carbon fiber over a shorter period,” says Nicolas Wegener, COO of LeMond, who negotiated the $44 million dollar deal. “The process requires 75 percent less energy and also reduces the amount of process equipment by 75 percent. These factors make the production of low-cost carbon fiber scalable at a velocity that can keep up with the market demand.”
According to the company, the licensed process will enable LeMond Composites to commercialize carbon fiber production faster than anyone else currently in the marketplace. This means LeMond will deliver more of its low-cost carbon fiber, faster to industries that benefit from using lighter, stronger materials, including those addressing global energy and transportation challenges.
Aside from transportation, carbon fiber has the potential to have a significant impact in areas such as wind energy and infrastructure. For the wind power industry, carbon fiber can be used to make wind turbine blades longer and stronger, increasing their efficiency. Carbon fiber composites can also be used to build, reinforce, or repair bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, and homes.
“Partnering with Deakin University will facilitate our expansion into other markets and open doors that were not possible only a few years ago,” said David Church, LeMond’s Vice President of Engineering. “With cost no longer a barrier, carbon fiber has the potential to be a game changer in the marketplace, leading to products that are stronger, safer, and better for the planet.”
The company says it is about to secure its first supply agreement with a commercial customer, and will use the new process to manufacture and sell carbon fiber starting in September 2017.