Australian manufacturer of inorganic carbon materials CFoam (ASX: CFO) has entered into key partnerships with two US tertiary institutions based on enhancing the development of carbon products from coal.
Research and development agreements with Ohio University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are in their early stages and have the potential to create new markets and opportunities for CFoam as a raw material supplier.
Ohio University is researching a project related to coal-derived alternatives to traditional fiber cement building materials.
The project received funding of $ 666,000 from the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the US Department of Energy, which focuses on applied research for the clean production and use of domestic energy resources.
Cost sharing agreement
CFoam has agreed to a $ 26,000 cost-share agreement for the project, which will see the Ohio research team develop charcoal-based coating materials for residential and commercial building coating applications.
Siding materials are an essential part of construction as they protect a structure from the elements, while deterring dirt, moisture and insects.
Primary vinyl (made from polyvinyl chloride) and fiber cement currently dominate the U.S. market, with a total of 4.7 billion square feet of product installed in 2018.
According to CFoam, vinyl siding is “slowly losing market share” due to consumer preference for a more robust and attractive product such as fiber cement.
Currently, the fiber cement siding market is valued at $ 13.2 billion and is expected to reach $ 20.3 billion by the end of 2025.
CFoam said carbon-derived carbon foam could become a more environmentally friendly alternative over time.
Carbon for a cleaner economy
At the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CFoam is participating in a research project that seeks to explore how carbon-based building materials can support the government’s commitment to a cleaner economy.
The institute’s research team plans to deploy carbon foams as a base material for all composite buildings, with an emphasis on residential housing.
As part of this partnership, CFoam will provide carbon nanotube composite panels featuring one-step formation that could have potential for low-cost mass production.
The panels provide a noncombustible, acoustically absorbent and compression tolerant core, which would be more suited for use in construction than polymer foams which do not have the same attributes.
Additionally, the electrothermal capabilities of the panels could be harnessed to provide both heating and cooling in a building, instead of operating separate systems.