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Energy Efficient, Incrementally Scalable, Continuous Basalt Fiber Manufacturing Process

Neuvokas
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$2,000,000
Location: 
Ahmeek, MI
Project Term: 
06/03/2019 to 06/02/2021
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Used in place of traditional rebar to reinforce concrete, continuous basalt fiber (CBF) ensures safer structures with longer lifespans and lower maintenance costs than those constructed with energy-dense, rust-prone steel. Yet CBF has had limited commercial acceptance due to manufacturing constraints from basalt's physical properties. Opaque by nature, basalt is difficult to melt; once melted, it is difficult to maintain its even heat. This uneven heat creates challenges in the bushings (tubes) that extrude it.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Neuvokas Corporation will develop an energy-efficient CBF manufacturing process. The project will focus delivering a filament-forming extrusion bushing capable of supporting the production of low-cost, high-quality CBF at scale. Using CBF instead of steel to reinforce concrete can reduce capital expenses, greenhouse gases, and operating expenses, and increase concrete service life and time to major maintenance by more than 30 years, saving greater than 0.5 quad (146,535,500,000 kWh) of energy per year.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, this project will exponentially improve the technology to manufacture and scale CBF while reducing its direct energy inputs.
Security: 
Producing low-cost, high-quality CBF at scale will place the U.S. in the technological lead for CBF production and secure the economic and energy benefits of this position.
Environment: 
The new CBF production technologies will increase efficiency and reduce energy input.
Economy: 
Mass production of low-cost, high-performance, energy-saving, CBF would enable it to compete at lower cost with standard building materials, such as glass fiber, carbon fiber, and steel.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Joseph King
Project Contact: 
Mr. Erik Kiilunen
Release Date: 
11/15/2018