Research & Innovation
Attis partners with U.S. university to research carbon fibres from lignin
By P&PC Staff
February 6, 2019 – Attis Industries has partnered with Iowa State University on a funded research program to develop carbon fibres for use in a wide variety of applications derived from lignin produced at Attis’s planned biorefineries.
By P&PC Staff
The company say that carbon fibres produced from its melt-flowable lignin – a carbon-rich biomass component – would offer cost and environmental benefits to industries that find current petroleum-based fibres cost prohibitive.
“Iowa State University has invested a tremendous amount of time in researching bio-based solutions for carbon fibre applications,” says Dr. Xianglan Bai, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State University. “Attis’s lignin is unique and shows great promise in delivering the low-cost, high-performance solution the carbon fibre industry has been demanding.”
Carbon fibres are used in multiple industries including aerospace, wind energy, and automotive primarily due to the materials’ unique combination of high performance and low weight. In 2017, global carbon fibre usage was estimated at 84,200 tons; however, the market universally agrees that the cost of carbon fibre is the major factor prohibiting wider adoption.
Attis estimates that each of its biorefineries could produce enough high-purity lignin to produce about 10,000 tons of carbon fibre.
“Attis is confident that it’s on the right path to accelerate impactful advancements in growing the economy while dramatically enhancing the overall sustainability landscape,” says Jeff Cosman, chief executive officer of Attis Industries. “It’s not just about carbon fibre, it’s about using renewable resources in a responsible and efficient way to create sustainable jobs, materials and fuels.”
Attis identified Iowa State University as an ideal candidate to partner with for carbon fibre research and development due to their broad background in bio-based material evaluation for carbon fibre production. The partnership will involve a significant amount of laboratory and pilot testing of Attis’s lignin by Iowa State University to maximize the amount of lignin in a finished carbon fibre formulation while meeting the industry standard for carbon fibre in automotive applications.