Oak Ridge carbon fiber center leads automakers to lighter future

Oak Ridge carbon fiber center leads automakers to lighter future

March 28th, 2013 by The Knoxville News Sentinel in Business Around the Region

Carbon Fiber Technology Facilty holds an open house in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Department of Energy photo

Facility at a glance

Name: Carbon Fiber Technology Facility

Location: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Owner: U.S. Department of Energy

Investment: $34.7 million from the 2009 stimulus measure

Staff: 25 people

Operating budget: $5.5 million

Size: 42,000 square foot tech lab with metal spun precursor capacity of 65 tons per year on polyethylene, carbon fiber production of 24k PAN tows

Director: Lee McGetrick

OAK RIDGE, TENN. - One of the offshoots of improving the U.S. manufacturing base for clean energy is supposed to be jobs creation, and nobody appreciates that more than Rick Chambers, a technician at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's new Carbon Fiber Technology Facility.

Two years ago, at age 55, the Scott County, Tenn., resident lost his job managing a research lab in the hardwood flooring industry. He was another victim of the economic downturn.

"For the first time in my life, I became unemployed, and I found that although I had 35 years of experience in quality control and research and development, being an older employee made it difficult to find a rewarding job," he said.

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