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Advancing vehicle technologies

July 17, 2020

Another investment in MSU’s Scale-up Research Facility

Michigan State University’s Scale-Up Research Facility (SURF) in Detroit’s Corktown will have a significant role in two of the 55 projects that the federal government will invest $139 million in to advance vehicle technologies, the U.S. Department of Energy announced July 16, 2020.

MSU will have a significant role in a new federal initiative to advance vehicle technologies.
MSU's Corktown site has a significant role in a new federal initiative to advance vehicle technologies.

Ray Boeman, director of SURF and the Vehicles Technology Area for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), said SURF will work with both Ford and General Motors as part of a national revitalization of manufacturing competitiveness, especially in the transportation sector. SURF is managed by MSU.

Boeman said the two SURF projects are:

Ford: Multi-functional Smart Composite Structures with Electronics Integration for Smart Vehicles ($7.5 million) and

General Motors: Development of Tailored Fiber-Reinforced Composites Materials Systems for High-Volume Manufacturing of Structural Battery Enclosure ($7.5 million).

Ray Boeman will guide MSU's efforts in a new $15 million investment in Corktown.
Ray Boeman will guide MSU's efforts in two new projects with Ford and GM.

“We’ll be partnering with both teams,” said Boeman, who is also a professor of composites materials and manufacturing at MSU. “In all, six of these innovations will be led by teams in Michigan,” he added.

The projects are funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and include research in advanced batteries, electrification, and manufacturing in support of DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge. Projects are across 16 topic areas, ranging from lightweight and high-performance fiber-reinforced polymer composites for vehicle applications to advancing lithium-ion batteries.

“This is a great reflection of the value IACMI and our core partners are providing to the national composites community by creating unique validation capacity and the related expertise impactful to our U.S. manufacturers,” said John Hopkins, IACMI CEO. “These collaborations build off the foundations that our partners and extended teams have created and will create new opportunities for the IACMI consortium community as we move forward.”

For more on the 55 projects, see the DOE announcement.

MSU in Corktown: The Corktown facility was created in 2015 by then President Barak Obama as a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories and federal, state and local governments to explore ways to use composite materials to make automobiles lighter and more fuel-efficient. It was dedicated during a government-industry-university celebration in 2017.