A local aviation engine leader will receive a $1 million state grant for a new building.
Gov. Tom Corbett released the money from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to help pay for the costs of constructing a new building for Lycoming Engines, 652 Oliver St.
State Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, supported the grant for several reasons.
SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
Lycoming Engines lead engineer James Morris shows off the company’s iE2 six-cylinder electronic control engine during an open house for its employees at their hangar at the Williamsport Regional Airport in September 2009.
"It helps preserve 450 jobs, number one," Yaw said. "Number two, it's a United States manufacturer of aircraft engines. Number three, it's located in Pennsylvania. It helps (the company) be competitive in a global market for aircraft engines."
Scott Miller, company director of communications, said the money will make a more energy-sustaining facility for Lycoming Engines.
"The grant will be used as part of a facility upgrade plan," Miller said. "It will be used for hundred-year-old structures that we had so we can replace them with a modern efficient building with a couple of 'green' features built in."
One feature will recirculate scavenger heat from other processes to heat the structure and adjacent structures.
"It's also super insulated to maintain the temperature," Miller said. "It uses light tubes in addition to electric light so that we can use regular ambient light from the outside to adjust our electric light. The processes are greener than the processes we currently use."
The new building will eliminate the need for chemicals.
"We won't be pumping chemicals into the environment," he said. "Not that we ever did. But any time you can eliminate chemical processes, you can cut costs. You can also eliminate the need to store the chemicals properly and dispose chemical waste."
Miller said the importance of the energy-sustaining facility is to save money with energy costs.
"A building of this size would cost $10,000 more a year for utilities," he said. "The green features really save money. You have to heat and light the building regardless. With the green features, we can save significantly on what we would have paid."
The need to save money is important to Miller because lower costs means being able to offer a competitive rate for the aviation engines.
"We are an intense global economy, especially in aviation," he said. "Any amount of efficiency we can find in our processes and in our costs helps us keep the costs of products down. We can stay in competition with other companies building brand new from the ground up."
Miller said that China especially is trying to improve its aviation.
"They're pouring money into general aviation to get up to speed," he said. "Their current five-year plan is to improve ability and capability for general aviation."
The country recently has become more "relaxed" with letting more Chinese citizens fly, building airports and training pilots.
China also recently purchased some American general aviation companies.
As China improves, Lycoming Engines strives to also.
"We need to compete," Miller said. "We need to do everything to relentlessly improve so we can compete on a worldwide scale."
The new building will be finished later this year. Miller said the plans for the building began in 2009.
The shell of the building is finished, but the equipment still needs to be installed in it.
"The (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program) grant is not paying for the equipment," Miller said. "It just pays for the construction. We've completed the other things that had to be completed, like processes in the old building that had to be moved to other parts, thanks to the grant."