A new carbon fiber plant being built in Moses Lake could become the largest facility of its kind in the world because of strong demand for the composites.

Washington_State_FlagSEATTLE — A new carbon fiber plant being built in Moses Lake could become the largest facility of its kind in the world because of strong demand for the composites by German carmaker BMW AG, Gov. Chris Gregoire said.

Gregoire also said the plant, which started construction in July, may soon double in size.

Gregoire was wrapping up a three-day trip to Germany, where she met with top executives of BMW and SGL Group, a European carbon manufacturing company. The two companies have formed SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC, a joint venture that is building the central Washington plant to make composite material for BMW’s Megacity vehicle, a high-tech electric car to be launched before 2015.

When officials of the two companies announced the $100 million plant in April, they said they hoped to expand and had taken an option on more land at the plant’s Port of Moses Lake site. The plant initially will employ 80 workers and support about 200 construction jobs.

Gregoire said the executives told her they plan to expand sooner than expected.

“I am absolutely convinced that they are planning now phase two,” she said, adding that the company’s board of directors will meet early next year to decide whether to speed the expansion.

“Wow,” said Moses Lake Mayor Jon Lane when told of Gregoire’s optimism. “It’s certainly delightful news and we’re caught unaware,” he said.

Depending on their application, carbon fiber composites can be lighter, stronger and far more durable than many metals. Boeing Co.’s new 787 jetliner is mostly made out of the material.

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Source: George Tibbits | The Daily Caller