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Aerogel Technologies Expands With Boston, Massachusetts, Production Plant

Aerogel Technologies is constructing the world’s first pilot plant for volume production of large, mechanically robust polymer aerogel panels and films, to be built in Boston, Massachusetts.

According to company officials, Aerogels are the world’s lightest solid materials, composed of up to 99.98% air by volume, known for their unparalleled thermal insulating abilities and numerous other extreme materials properties.

In support of the new plant, the company recently relocated its operations into an expanded 100,000-sq-ft facility that was previously part of Westinghouse in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston. The company says the first stage of its new advanced manufacturing facility is expected to come online by May 2019.

“We are thrilled to bring large-dimension polymer aerogels to scale for the first time and in doing so bring measurable energy- and cost-savings benefits to applications around the world,” said Dr. Stephen Steiner, President & CEO of Aerogel Technologies. “Thanks to this new pilot plant, applications for aerogels ranging from more fuel-efficient airplanes to longer-range electric vehicles are finally within reach.”

“In our opinion, there’s no better place in the world to manufacture advanced materials than the United States. The talent, the creativity, the technology, the financial resources, the market opportunities, there’s no better place. It’s our hope that this pilot plant will serve as a first step towards creating a sustainable pipeline of well-paying manufacturing jobs for American families for years to come.”

With their new manufacturing facility, Aerogel Technologies says the company will immediately begin scale production of large-dimension aerogel panels in sizes initially ranging from 1 ft x 1 ft to 4 ft by 4 ft for use in aviation interiors, automotive parts, and lightweighting of engineering components currently made from performance plastics.

Aerogel Technologies says the newly-announced pilot plant is the first stage of a larger planned facility that, when completed, will have a maximum annual capacity of approximately 2.3 million square feet of 3/8”-thick panels with capability for accommodating other form factors including up to 10 million square feet of aerogel thin films annually.

Sold under the trade name Airloy, Aerogel Technologies has brought to market a new class of aerogel materials based on organic polymers rather than silica that exhibit plastic-like durability and machinability which can serve as ultralight alternatives to plastics and composites providing weight- and cost-savings advantages in applications such as aviation interiors, automotive range extension, and vibration isolation of rocket payloads.

In February of this year, Aerogel Technologies announced a major technological breakthrough that enables, for the first time, production of plastic-like aerogels without the need for the costly and size-restricting high-pressure equipment traditionally required to make aerogels. The company describes their new patent-pending technology as being able to produce aerogels of theoretically unlimited dimensions where previous technology was practicably limited to only handheld-sized parts, and at a fraction of the cost of the traditional high-pressure process.

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