Exclusive interview with Cliff Eberle of Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Smithers Rapra spoke exclusively to Cliff Eberle ahead of his presentation "CFRP in the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation" at GOCarbonFiber North America.

Q. Please briefly describe your background in composites

I have around twenty years of composites experience including a mix of technical and programmatic roles, with over ten years focused on development of low cost carbon fiber technologies.

Q. Your presentation will focus on the newly announced Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). Why is this such an important development for the carbon fiber industry?

A. IACMI focuses an unprecedented network of coordinated institutional capabilities, located in states where key industries are concentrated, dedicated to transitioning emerging industrial carbon fiber composite technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace. This is fortuitously happening when the market and technology readiness levels are converging such that a major, well-designed initiative has a great chance to successfully deploy technologies that will lead to  widespread commercial adoption of CFRP in high volume, cost sensitive industries.

Q. Looking at the industry as a whole, which sectors do you believe are of key strategic importance for the next five to ten years?

A. Automotive, if impending fuel economy and emissions regulations are not significantly relaxed

Q. What do you consider to be biggest challenges facing the CFRP industry?

A. Cost and scale

Q. Outside the excellent work of the IACMI, what is the most exciting new program you have seen recently regarding the use or development of carbon fiber?

A. Ford F150 conversion to aluminum, because this demonstrates that weight reduction in high volume, mainstream automotive platforms is sufficiently important to merit multi-billion dollar investments. If confirmed by other mainstream platform programs this will ultimately lead to enormous growth in the carbon fiber industry.

Q. Finally, we are very pleased to have you on board for the conference this year, what are you hoping to gain most from this event?

A. Knowledge about CFRP market and technology trends as well as networking with key industry figures.


The answers above are Cliff Eberle's personal views and do not indicate official positions of any entity to which he is affiliated with.