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Huntsville gets America’s first facility for making revolutionary material used in jet engines

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- Huntsville is now home to America's first and only center for building a breakthrough material that will revolutionize jet propulsion. The new GE Aviation site had its ribbon cutting today.

This facility is the first of its kind in the United States, the only other one like it is in Japan.

"Seeing companies like GE Aviation choosing Alabama, that speaks well not only for our state but also for our workforce," said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey.

The GE Aviation facility will produce raw material for ceramic matrix composites or CMC.

This material will be used in CE jet engines. This advanced material is stronger, lighter, can withstand temperatures 500 degrees hotter than metal parts that are typically used.

The $200 million facility currently has 90 employees, and they plan to have 300 employees at peak production. The new facility has attracted workers from across the country, like Brandon Bailey who came from New York.

"I didn't know much about the Rocket City when I first got here, but I tell ya it's living up to its name. It's skyrocketing," said Bailey.

The materials made here will be used in GE Aviation's newest military and commercial engines and is also being used for rockets. GE says the use of the CMC will enhance engine performance, durability, and fuel economy.

"The CMC material made here, as well as the added parts being produced in Auburn, will give GE Aviation engines a level of efficiency and performance this industry has never seen," said Mike Kauffman GE Aviation Executive Director and general manager.

He said the impact of these technologies will be felt around the world, including a major impact to Redstone Arsenal, just a few miles away. GE said the demand for CMCs is expected to grow tenfold over the next decade.

Kauffman said the Huntsville facility will expand the use of these materials, with applications ranging from automobile braking systems to heat shield systems for spacecraft.