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25 November 2013
Deakin University today welcomed a visit by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, to a new carbon fibre research facility at its Geelong Waurn Ponds campus.
Deakin Vice-Chancellor Jane den Hollander said the visit was a great honour for the University and an opportunity to highlight the ground-breaking research and industry partnerships underway.
“On behalf of Deakin, we are delighted and greatly honoured to welcome the Governor-General to Carbon Nexus and to demonstrate our strong commitment to our region, most particularly research and industry partnerships to create the jobs of the future,” Professor den Hollander said.
“One of the great new opportunities for Geelong manufacturing is in carbon fibre – the aluminium of the 21st century.
“At Deakin, we are building a special focus of our research on this area because we believe the key to sustaining Geelong’s growth lies in new partnerships between education, research and industry.
“The Carbon Nexus research facility at our Waurn Ponds Campus is developing those partnerships, together with the technical capability and scientific capacity needed to lead industry development.
“Carbon Nexus is a pivotal point for industry engagement and development and a beacon of hope for the future of manufacturing in the Geelong region.”
Touring the facility, the Governor-General met research and technical staff and was shown a pilot scale carbon fibre line capable of producing 20-50 tonnes of aerospace carbon fibre each year, a smaller single-tow research line, as well as the adjoining research laboratories and office areas.
Professor Lee Astheimer, Deakin’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), said development of Carbon Nexus was progressing extremely well, with full commissioning of the carbon fibre lines expected soon and industry engagement growing, even at this early stage.
“Earlier this month, both the 20-tonne pilot scale line and the single-tow research line produced their first carbon fibre from precursor provided by an industry partner – this is a major step forward,” Professor Astheimer said.
“The international carbon fibre industry has been in existence for quite some time, however the material is still costly to produce and this restricts mainstream applications and usage.
“Through this globally unique Carbon Nexus facility, Deakin and our partners are exploring lower-cost manufacturing processes as well as improvements to the fibre characteristics and applications to assist the Australian industry as well as international development.”
Brad Dunstan, CEO of the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM), and a key collaborator with Deakin in the development of Carbon Nexus, welcomed the progress.
“I’m delighted to see this long term vision for development of a new industry in Australia taking steps towards reality, led by the establishment of this outstanding research facility,” Mr Dunstan said.
The $34 million Carbon Nexus research facility is part of the $103 million Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) at Deakin’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.
Carbon Nexus was developed by Deakin University and VCAMM with support provided by the State Government’s Victorian Science Agenda (VSA) and the Federal Government’s Education and Investment Fund (EIF) along with significant investment by Deakin.
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Governor-General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce (centre), during the tour of the Carbon Nexus facility with Steve Atkiss, Carbon Nexus General Manager (left) and Ian Kett, AFFRIC Program Director.