A globally unique cutting-edge carbon fibre research facility was today officially opened in Australia at Deakin University in Geelong.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander welcomed the Victorian Premier, Dr Denis Napthine, Federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson MP, Federal Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos MP, City of Greater Geelong Mayor Cr Darryn Lyons, Carbon Nexus Chair Honorary Dr Simon Crean and local, national and international guests to the $34 million Carbon Nexus Facility.
Professor den Hollander said the new open access facility – owned and operated by Deakin University – was an international centre of research and development, underpinned by strong local connections.
"Deakin now has a pilot carbon fibre manufacturing line embedded in our university, directly tied to research and ready to work with industry on projects that will help drive the jobs of the future," Professor den Hollander said.
"Australian universities have played a critical role over the years enabling local economies to reinvigorate and develop new economic bases.
"Today, carbon fibre is one of the great new value-adding opportunities for Geelong manufacturing.
"Building a new industry takes commitment, an unwavering focus on innovation and strong partnerships between academia and industry – and that is what goes to the heart of Carbon Nexus.
"I congratulate our dedicated partners and the Federal and State Governments for their commitment to a project that has strong bipartisan support.
"This shows Australia is a nation that supports innovation and is prepared to invest in cutting-edge projects that push scientific boundaries and provide real benefits for industry and communities."
Professor den Hollander said over 20 Carbon Nexus researchers and technicians were exploring the fundamental science for making industry-relevant breakthroughs in low-cost, high-performing carbon fibre materials that would be lighter, stronger, cheaper and much faster to produce.
"Deakin University has a strong focus on driving the ideas and research behind the jobs of the future," Professor den Hollander said.
"We are very proud of Carbon Nexus, which has already directly led to a $23.8 million investment and 150 jobs at the Carbon Revolution wheel production facility in the Geelong Innovation Precinct on campus at Waurn Ponds."
Brad Dunstan, CEO of Deakin's industry partner on Carbon Nexus, the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM), said the facility was an important step forward in gaining global recognition for Australia in the carbon fibre supply chain.
"The key to our success has been taking a strategic vision, establishing relationships with key people in companies across the globe and scientifically and technically positioning ourselves to ride the big wave of carbon fibre demand that is coming this century," Mr Dunstan said.
Research Director at Carbon Nexus, Associate Professor Bronwyn Fox, said the facility would provide research solutions focused on the science behind the manufacture and use of carbon fibre.
"Carbon fibre composites are exceptionally strong and light and increasingly being used across a wide range of industries, such as aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, clean energy and sporting goods, replacing traditional materials such as steel and aluminium," she said.
"Carbon Nexus has been specifically built to meet this rapidly growing demand by providing new opportunities to stimulate and expand the Australian carbon fibre market."
Carbon Nexus – Background
Deakin's Carbon Nexus research facility is part of a $103 million Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) at the University's Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.
It was developed by Deakin and VCAMM with support from the State Government's Victorian Science Agenda Investment Fund and the Federal Government's Education and Investment Fund (EIF) along with significant investment by Deakin.
Carbon Nexus houses laboratories, a pilot scale carbon fibre line capable of producing up to 55 tonnes of aerospace grade carbon fibre each year and a smaller single-tow research line.
The facility focuses on the structure, properties and process across four key areas:
1. Low-cost fibres
2. High performance fibres
3. Surface treatments
4. Advanced composite manufacturing.
Download photos here: http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/images/cnphotos.zip