July 15, 2008

Aspen Aerogels Opens $30-Million Manufacturing Facility

The new plant will allow Aspen to meet growing demand for its nanoporous aerogel blanket insulation.

Aspen Aerogels yesterday showed off its newly opened 150,000- square-foot manufacturing facility on Dexter Road in East Providence.

The $30-million investment in the new facility enables Aspen to meet growing commercial demand for its nanoporous aerogel blanket insulation. The company, which was formed in 2001, makes a high- tech insulating material based on silica, the main component of sand. The insulation is produced in a blanket form and is primarily used in industrial applications, especially the oil industry, as an insulator for pipelines. But its use is expanding to include such diverse applications as the construction and footwear industries.

"We are pleased to make this large investment in East Providence. The facility is the centerpiece of our growth plans, which focus on helping our customers worldwide achieve their goals," said Don Young, Aspen's president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

The company said the expansion has brought dozens of jobs to Rhode Island.

Aspen Aerogels is based in Northboro, Mass., with corporate offices, research and development, laboratories and the original manufacturing facility located there. Sales offices are worldwide and the company exports its products to Europe, Asia and North and South America.

The company said that Sen. Jack Reed and Rep. Patrick Kennedy were both instrumental in bringing critical support to the new manufacturing plant.

"I am pleased that Aspen Aerogels is opening this new facility and creating highly skilled manufacturing jobs here in East Providence," said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Armed Services Committee. "The most efficient thermal insulation in the world will be manufactured right here in East Providence and it will help our troops in the field with everything from protecting them from heat-seeking missiles to reducing the weight of ships and making them more energy efficient.

"I am pleased to have secured federal funding for this effort to strengthen our military and boost Rhode Island's economy. This is a win for our state and a smart investment that can reduce our military's dependence on oil and also have meaningful implications in the commercial and consumer sectors as well."

"Bringing Aspen Aerogels to East Providence is not only an investment in the city of East Providence, but more importantly, it is an investment in the people of Rhode Island," said Kennedy. "The opening of this new facility will bring many new jobs to the people of Rhode Island and in doing so, is an important step in bringing stability back to the economy of Rhode Island and its citizens."

Governor Carcieri said, "Aspen Aerogels' expansion is a great thing for Rhode Island's economy. In addition to creating more high- wage jobs for Rhode Islanders, the expansion further strengthens our state's position as a leader in high technology manufacturing."

David Lemire, of Portsmouth, an equipment operator for Aspen Aerogels, works at the new facility in East Providence. The Providence Journal Frieda Squires

DON Young

Saul Kaplan, RIEDC, Sen. Jack Reed, Don Young of Aspen Aerogels and U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy at the ribbon cutting. The Providence Journal / Frieda Squires

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