A carbon revolution

Deakin University and LeMond Composites have joined forces in a $58m deal which it believes will revolutionise the use of carbon fibre across the world.

The partnership, signed by Greg LeMond – three-time Tour de France winner and the founder and CEO of LeMond Composites – and Deakin University vice-chancellor professor Jane den Hollander AO, allows LeMond Composites to license new technology from Deakin’s world-leading carbon fibre research centre, Carbon Nexus.

The technology, developed by Carbon Nexus PhD student Maxime Maghe and Carbon Nexus general manager Steve Atkiss, has the potential to reduce the energy used in carbon fibre production by 75% and reduce the production process time from around 80 minutes to under 15 minutes.

In addition, the specialised carbon fibre production machinery required is expected to cost around 50% less than current equipment. The smaller equipment footprint makes possible a 70% reduction in the size of a carbon fibre processing plant.

Prof den Hollander believes the new technology is a game-changer for the future of manufacturing. ‘We know carbon fibre has been in use in aircraft, high-end cars and bikes, among other applications, for a long time now, but it remains a niche product that costs a significant amount to produce,’ said prof den Hollander. ‘This is a huge global success story and it was incubated in our Geelong Future Economy Precinct by one of our very own future leaders.’