Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), a leading global producer of glass fiber reinforcements for composite systems and residential and commercial building materials, yesterday launched a global competition to find new applications for composite materials.
Announced at the JEC Composites Show in Paris, the Composite App Challenge is focused on drawing entrants in four categories to help resolve some of society's pressing issues:
- Infrastructure Durability: Long-lasting infrastructure is critical to clean drinking water and preventing bridges, streets and buildings from crumbling and having to be replaced. Composites are corrosion resistant and can help build and re-build a more durable, more sustainable future and ensure a positive quality of life.
- Fuel Efficiency: Cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships sip less fuel when they're lighter. Composites are able to help reduce weight and improve energy efficiency.
- Renewable Energy: Large scale wind energy is not practical without composite materials – and they are key to many other emerging technologies such as wave energy and ocean thermal systems.
- Protection from Harm: Around the world, soldiers' lives are at risk. Composite materials provide a lightweight shield in the line of fire – either for personal or vehicle protection. Applications today have only just scratched the surface of what these versatile materials can do to save lives.
"Since the commercialization of glass fibers more than 70 years ago, Owens Corning has led the world in developing applications for composite materials," said Ashish Diwanji, vice president of innovation for the Owens Corning Composite Solutions Business. "The world has never been more in need of the corrosion-resistant, energy-efficient, protective properties composites deliver. With this competition we are looking for the next big application to help change the world in the way only composites materials can, and help drive the growth of the industry."
Key details of the challenge include:
- US$250,000 in awards – a $200,000 commercial development award for a composite application that can be introduced by the end of 2012, and a total of $50,000 for four composite application ideas that effectively address marketplace needs, appear to be technically feasible and have a perceived market opportunity. One $20,000 award is for anyone and three $10,000 awards are reserved for students.
- The competition will have three phases:
- Participants must submit their applications or ideas through the competition Web site by July 15, 2010.
- Up to 20 entrants will be selected and invited in early August to provide additional information for a second round of review at the end of November. Judges will be looking at the content of the idea, the potential market opportunity, the time needed to commercialize the application, the business case, technical feasibility and the contestant's ability to commercialize the application or solution.
- Eight finalists will then be selected and invited to present their ideas. Final decisions will be made on the likelihood of scalability and long-term success.
- Winners will be announced in February 2011, at the trade show hosted by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. USA.
"As a company, we continually invest millions of dollars globally in innovation to enhance existing products and develop new technologies and solutions," added Diwanji. "This competition is about joining forces with other great thinkers with great ideas, and driving the speed at which composites is transforming the future of the materials market even more quickly. We couldn't be more excited to see where this competition can help take our industry next."