Manufacturing: Boeing, Markey Machinery, MicroGreen Polymers

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner construction process and advanced materials proves a winner.
By Steve Reno |   October 2010   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Photograph by Leo Dejillas/Boeing



Green winner logoAs an airplane manufacturer, Boeing can’t help but have a large carbon footprint. Yet, it has moved aggressively to minimize its impact both by promoting the development of biofuels for jets and by producing the 787 Dreamliner, the first of a new generation of lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Most airplanes are made from aluminum, and as much as 90 percent of the raw aluminum used to create airplane parts is turned into scrap during manufacturing. The lightweight carbon fiber construction of the 787 eliminates this waste, and also makes the 787 more fuel efficient, using 20 percent less fuel than other planes its size. The 787 even cuts down on noise pollution, producing 60 percent less noise than similarly sized planes.

Location: Seattle

Employees: 160,000

Website: boeing.com

Because of its fuel efficiency, the 787 is capable of making longer direct flights than other passenger planes. Although it will be 30 or 40 years before the first 787s are retired, Boeing is already working with other companies to ensure the planes are recycled.


Markey Machinery Co.

Location: Seattle

Employees: 45

Website: markeymachinery.com

This year, Markey Machinery found an environmentally friendly way to deal with the huge amounts of stormwater that routinely flooded the unpaved street in front of its Georgetown facility. Instead of paving the area, the infrastructure of which dated to 1940 and had no drainage, the company constructed a bio-swale system. Stormwater now flows into retention ponds and is absorbed into the soil below.

MicroGreen Polymers

Location: Arlington

Employees: 21

Website: microgreeninc.com

Arlington-based plastics manufacturer MicroGreen Polymers uses its patented Ad-air technology to inject air bubbles into plastic. The process allows it to create products that use less plastic as well as being stronger, lighter and more insulating. Later this year, MicroGreen will employ this technology to make a low-density, thermally insulated beverage cup that is recyclable and is itself made from recycled material.

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