It was a big event yesterday morning in Downtown Knoxville when a senior U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) executive joined with representatives of the University of Tennessee (UT) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to officially launch the new, more than a quarter of a billion dollar “Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation” (IACMI).
More than 300 individuals witnessed the signing of the agreement by David Danielson, DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; David Millhorn, UT’s Executive Vice President; and Craig Blue, long-time ORNL Research Director who is Chief Executive Officer of IACMI.
The attendees were in town for the inaugural meeting of the organization.
Later, Danielson expressed to us his great appreciation for the program, partners and region.
“Oak Ridge really gets it,” he said in reference to the research conducted at ORNL in advanced composites and the lab’s knowledge of how to build industrial partnerships. “There are some really exciting things going on here.”
IACMI was announced by President Barack Obama in January with more than 120 organizations being part of the consortium. The UT Research Foundation established a separate not-for-profit organization to coordinate the work of the partners, and that is the entity that Blue leads.
A UT news release notes that IACMI is funded with $70 million in federal monies and more than $180 million in non-federal funds. It “will focus on making advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites less expensive and less energy-intensive, helping give America’s resurging manufacturing sector a more competitive edge in the global economy.”