Can cost-efficient carbon fiber be created from renewable, non-food-based feedstocks like agricultural residues and woody biomass? The Department of Energy believes so and is now putting up $12 million in funding to help make it happen. The agency says that carbon fiber created from biomass offers greater environmental benefits than traditional carbon fiber produced from natural gas or petroleum, and also believes it may be less costly to manufacture.
Lightweighting is a growing trend in auto manufacturing as one of many strategies to help create more efficient vehicles. Advanced materials like carbon fiber may play an important role if this material can be created more sustainably and, importantly, more affordably. DOE points out that reducing vehicle weight just 10% can improve fuel economy by 6% to 8%. More information is available at DOE’s Funding Opportunity Exchange website.