Harper's Chuck Miller joined Lee McGetrick, the director of the ORNL's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, and Connie Jackson, its operations manager, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) marked the opening of a first-of-its-kind carbon fiber facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 26. Officials from the Department of Energy (DOE) and industry partners joined ORNL staff at the Carbon Fiber Technology Center in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Among the suppliers at the event was Chuck Miller, the president of Harper International, Lancaster, N.Y. Harper was chosen for engineering, process equipment, installation and startup of the complete process line at the center of the facility, which is focused on supporting ORNL’s low cost carbon fiber research and technology transfer. A collaborative research center, the facility will support operation under multiple precursor platforms.

The custom-designed line incorporates Harper’s proprietary multi-flow oxidation oven technology; Model LT and HT slot furnaces rated for 1,832 and 3,632°F (1,000 and 2,000°C) respectively; pre- and post-treatment fiber conditioning, gas treatment and handling; and material transport systems.

According to the DOE, the facility, open to U.S. manufacturers, provides clean energy companies and researchers with a test bed for the development of less expensive, better performing carbon fiber materials and manufacturing processes. Funding for the equipment was appropriated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Program.