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Research & Development Center awarded $250,000 innovation grant

The Research & Development Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency (R&D CAMEE) located in the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center has been named one of 22 recipients for an innovation grant totaling $250,000. 

The Center for Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Herndon announced the awards totaling $3.1 million for the second round of the FY2012 Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund on Thursday.

Awarded projects represent the areas of advanced manufacturing, aerospace, communications, cyber security, energy, environment, information technology, life sciences and modeling and simulation.

David Kenealy, SVHEC director of R&D CAMEE, and Catherine Stevens, higher education center institutional effectiveness specialist, submitted an application entitled “Use of Southern Yellow Pine as an Alternative Material for the Manufacture of Cross-Laminated Timbers for Use in Commercial Construction.” 

The project focuses on accelerating Virginia’s advanced manufacturing capacity through research and testing of panelized construction methodology using a renewable and commercially viable natural resource: Virginia: Southern Yellow Pine.

Panelized construction methodology in the form of cross laminated timbers has been widely used in Europe and Canada for decades, but it is just gaining recognition as a “green” (highly energy efficient) building material and technology in the U.S. 

While cross laminated timbers have traditionally been constructed of fir and spruce species available in Europe and Canada, the SVHEC proposes to use Southern Yellow Pine, a species widely-available in Virginia and considered to be one of the most cost-effective wood construction materials, Kenealy said. 

The United States cross laminated timbers market is estimated at $1.5-4.5 billion, and commercialization of this product in Virginia is expected to lead to at least 100 direct jobs within the next five years, with a multiplier effect on supply-chain jobs in related industries.

In this project, the higher education center R&D CAMEE and  partners will test and certify cross laminated timbers made of Southern Yellow Pine for use in commercial construction structurally insulated panels; enable the transfer of technology and commercialization of this product through the advanced manufacturing sector in Virginia; and increase U.S. technological advancements in building science directly applicable to energy-efficient commercial construction.

Project partners include the Research & Development Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (lead applicant); Virginia Tech Department of Wood Science & Forest Products; University of Virginia School of Engineering; American Wood Council; Morgan Lumber Company, Inc. in Red Oak; and SIPS of America in Blairs. 

The project is planned for completion within a 12 month period and within the budget of $250,000.

CIT is a commercialization program to incentivize the commercialization in Virginia of a product or service related to a qualifying technology. 

Since 1984, it has been a leader in the efforts to create a globally competitive innovation economy in Virginia. 

In order to boost entrepreneurial endeavors, support research and create seed-stage funding for start-ups and intellectual property, CIT has worked with both public and private stakeholders. By doing this, CIT has been helping ensure the creation of a new generation of technology companies.  

CIT capitalizes on the presence of federal labs and the technology resources within the commonwealth to promote economic development in Virginia. It does so by attracting and retaining high technology jobs and businesses to make sure that the new technology companies of tomorrow becomes a reality. 

For more information about the CIT program visit http://www.cit.org/. 

To learn more about the R&D CAMEE at SVHEC go to http://rdcamee.org/about or contact David Kenealy, director of R&D CAMEE at 434-572-5557 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . R&D CAMEE is located in the higher education center’s Innovation Center.