According to a new report from The American Jobs Report, Virginia is in a position to “expand its CFRP composites economy, increase in-state spending, and employ an average of over 5,000 Virginians annually over the next fifteen years.” The report drew its projections from national estimates on future demand by McKinsey & Company as well as industry benchmarks for employment and supply chain expenditures through IBIS World.

The report adds that if CFRP composites companies in Virginia are able to increase their national market share to 10 percent and consolidate its in-state supply chain, over 75,000 direct, indirect, and induced job-years would be supported. While nearly 35,000 of those would be direct job-years in the state’s CFRP composites industry, over 40,000 indirect and induced job-years would also be supported.

There are a number of factors, according to the researchers behind the report, that would make this possible. First, the global market for CFRP is in good shape, with the global demand for CFRP rising and the price of CFRP falling.

Specifically, the report cites market intelligence from Swedish firm Innventia, as well as William Blair & Company, which says demand for carbon fiber is predicted to double from 2014 to 2020, growing to over 100,000 tons by 2020. Additionally, market analysts from project that the CFRP composite materials market will grow to up to $25.2 billion by 2020, increasing at a rate of nearly 12 percent per year. McKinsey & Company adds that the cost of CFRP is also projected to dramatically fall—up to 67 percent by 2030—as new research reduces the cost of input materials and manufacturing processes.

Secondly, the report describes CFRP composite production as a “nascent industry,” and that the state already has the infrastructure in place to help it succeed.

“Virginia has advantages in its CFRP composites supply chain due to its anchor companies, strategic location and diversity of companies involved with carbon fiber (or similar fiber) production,” the report says. “Gaps in the CFRP composite supply chain, like the lack of a carbon fiber filament production facility, represent growth opportunities for the Commonwealth.”

The report also made five policy recommendations:

  • Continue targeting carbon fiber manufacturers on overseas Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) missions
  • Join the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and create a Composites Council
  • Host an advanced materials technology competition and “hackathon”
  • Create an online platform to streamline permits and allow local cost comparisons
  • Expand local implementation of “Defense Production Zones” to composites industry cluster companies

Click here to read the full report.