Knoxville, Tenn., July 20, 2017The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) is unveiling a CNG (compressed natural gas) vessel prototype from its first compressed gas storage project. The project provides unique advantages to the storage of compressed natural gas through the use of thermoplastic composite technologies to achieve better durability, weight reduction and recyclability. The CNG vessel prototype is the first phase of the project, which partners DuPont Performance Materials (DuPont), the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), Composite Prototyping Center (CPC) and Steelhead Composites.

IACMI is a University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Department of Energy-driven consortium with more than 150 members committed to increasing domestic production capacity and manufacturing jobs across the U.S. composites industry.

Driven by the demand for alternative transportation fuels, high-pressure gas storage vessels represent one of the largest and fastest growing markets for advanced composites. “We are excited to make progress in addressing this demand with the production of a demonstration vessel featuring the use of thermoplastic composites and Automated Fiber Placement (AFP),” said Jake Dickinson, DuPont Performance Materials, Technical Project Lead.

The collaborative team met their goal of producing a prototype vessel by utilizing cutting-edge technology, new materials, and technical expertise. It was fabricated at Composite Prototyping Center (CPC) utilizing an AFP winding process on an aluminum liner produced by Steelhead Composites. The vessel offers significant performance and economic benefits over legacy designs that typically utilize thermoset resins. In comparison to thermoset resins, thermoplastic resins offer improved damage tolerance, recyclability, process repeatability and ease of handling.

“The Phase One research and development for this project is encouraging as it allows the integration of supply chain innovations in the growing compressed gas storage sector. IACMI’s compressed gas storage technology area – led by UDRI and supported by JobsOhio – continues to enable composite material uses that have never been done before by industry partners,” said IACMI CEO, Bryan Dods.

The team quickly achieved goals set out in Phase One of the project and is now setting their sights on validating performance and the tasks associated with continued progress toward next generation prototype vessels.

DuPont Performance Materials (DPM) is a leading innovator of thermoplastics, elastomers, renewably sourced polymers, high-performance parts and shapes, as well as resins that act as adhesives, sealants, and modifiers. DPM supports a globally linked network of regional application development experts who work with customers throughout the value chain to develop innovative solutions in automotive, packaging, construction, consumer goods, electrical/electronics and other industries.  For additional information about DuPont Performance Materials, visit http://plastics.dupont.com

About IACMI-The Composites Institute: The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation (CCS), is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments working together to benefit the nation’s energy and economic security by sharing existing resources and co-investing to accelerate development and commercial deployment of advanced composites. CCS is a not-for-profit organization established by The University of Tennessee Research Foundation. The national Manufacturing USA institute is supported by a $70 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, and over $180 million committed from IACMI’s partners. Find out more at IACMI.org.