The Fibre Processing and Carbon Nexus buildings in Geelong have just been opened, having received $38 million in Federal Governemnt funding.
The buildings are part of the $103 million Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC), which aims to transform Geelong's into a global centre for cutting-edge manufacturing.
Advanced fibre manufacturing promises to benefit to the Geelong economy and the country.
"New generation fibres, like carbon fibre, smart fibrous materials, and sustainable textiles are revolutionising industries across the economy, including in the aerospace, defence, automotive and textile sectors," said Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr when opening the buildings.
Geelong researchers are working directly with industry and said to be building new prototypes and making breakthroughs.
Geelong company Carbon Revolution has worked closely with Deakin University, and is now the first in the world to manufacture carbon fibre car wheels, which weigh about half as much as regular wheels. Carbon Revolution are currently exporting worldwide..
The global carbon fibre market is expected to double to $36 billion by 2020, and Geelong is positioning itself as a leader in research, with potential to further increase production.
To date, the centre has injected $160 million into the local economy and when complete, will employ 385 researchers, adding an extra $25 million per annum to the local economy.
The Fibre Processing building will accommodate CSIRO researchers who will work closely with their Deakin University counterparts to develop new, high tech and environmentally friendly fibres to transform the textiles industry.
The Carbon Nexus building will house a 90 metre carbon fibre production line and furnace where researchers will produce leading-edge composite materials for commercial research purposes.
"Australia's future as a high wage, high skill nation, that makes things and leads the world in innovation depends on our ability to bring researchers and industry together in places like AFFRIC," Senator Carr said.