The skills in Geelong are exceptional in manufacturing generally and in advanced fibres and composites particularly – because we’ve had global companies here, Ford and Alcoa, and the supply base has learned to think globally. Our companies are entirely integrated into global supply chains.
There are still challenges around carbon fibre production and carbon fibre composites. If the challenges are solved – and we are solving them – we can expand the use of carbon fibre tenfold. Then you move into all forms of transportation, more efficient transportation through the weight saving – and you move into the provision of solutions for super high pressure hydrogen and so on. If the challenges are solved, we’ll have a product you can use anywhere that fibreglass or aluminium are used – and that means greater durability and huge energy efficiencies.
Here we have a research institute and a PhD factory, in effect, that is churning out industry-driven researchers who go out and start things like Carbon Revolution or who invent new and more cost-efficient processes for producing carbon fibre.
What is unique here is the innovative mindset. We have the physical capability, yes, a globally unique, open-access carbon fibre composite research facility. But around that is the ability to develop great thinkers. Universities combined with companies, with industry, are not just inventing, they are producing inventions with commercial value and application.
Director, Carbon Nexus @ Deakin University