Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr opened the two new buildings, for which the Australian Government has provided $38 million in funding, with Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman at Deakin University. The buildings are part of the $103 million Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC), which is adding to Geelong's credentials as a global centre for cutting-edge manufacturing.
Senator Carr said the applications for advanced fibre manufacturing and the benefits to the Geelong economy and Australia are immense.
"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," Senator Carr said.
Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman said Geelong researchers were working directly with industry, building new prototypes and making breakthroughs that no one else in the world is making.
"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. They are currently exporting worldwide," Mr Cheeseman said.
The global carbon fibre market is expected to double to $36 billion by 2020, and Geelong has positioned 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 our economy," Mr Cheeseman said.
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 revolutionise 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.
"The buildings we are opening today show that we are on track to transform our economy and secure the economic future of key manufacturing regions such as Geelong who have an enormous amount of skills and expertise to offer."
Ministry of Innovation, Australia
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