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The Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) has earned a $1.73 million state grant to fund advanced manufacturing equipment at its new Port Angeles facility.
The grant by the Washington State Department of Commerce, from its Clean Energy Fund 2 program, will allow purchase and installation of equipment to recycle carbon fiber scrap from the aerospace industry into value-added products.
Production at the site should begin by the end of this year, creating more than 20 jobs by the end of 2017. The facility’s product offerings will focus long-term on clean-energy applications, with specific products yet to be announced.
This grant was made possible by matching funds provided by the Port of Port Angeles through a series of Economic Development Services Agreements with the CRTC.
The CRTC, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was launched by the Port of Port Angeles as an economic development initiative to respond to the growing need of the composite and aerospace industries to recycle and reuse remnants from their production processes.
The award marks a “giant stride” for CRTC as it launches a groundbreaking industry based on reusing premium aerospace materials that goes to landfill today, said Bob Larsen, CRTC CEO.
“This grant is one of the last pieces of the puzzle to enable CRTC to become the source of new jobs and economic development for our community and county,” Larsen said. “CRTC is now poised to accelerate its production plans and increase the number of jobs it creates in the coming year.”
CRTC moved into a new production facility on 18th Street in Port Angeles in August.
CRTC is the only facility in the world to divert uncured carbon fiber composite scrap from landfills and transform it into consumer products.
The material – lighter than aluminum and stronger than steel – is used to create lightweight airplane and automobile parts, but up to 30 percent of it ends up as manufacturing scrap. Colleen McAleer, the Port of Port Angeles Commission President, said she couldn't be more delighted.
“This has been a long time coming. The CRTC team and our Port staff have worked diligently for years to bring this opportunity to fruition,” McAleer said. “The extensive funding for the equipment from our partners at the Department of Commerce will now allow the vision for an innovative product and job producer to become a reality for our community."
As it finds new uses for aerospace industry composite waste, the CRTC production process using recycled carbon fiber uses only 10 percent of the energy needed for like products made from virgin carbon fiber.
With the CEF2 funding, CRTC will greatly expand its production capability while boosting the Clallam County economic and employment base.
“CRTC remains focused on our strategic plan and delivering on its promise to create jobs and drive economic development in Clallam County,” said David Walter, Chairman of the CRTC's Board of Directors. “The Board applauds this vote of confidence by the Department of Commerce and we are very grateful to the Port, County, City, and Peninsula College for all of their excellent support. We also thank and recognize the entire CRTC team for all their hard work and diligence that has gotten us to this point.”
US carbon ?ber waste is estimated at 29 million pounds per year, with 2 million pounds per year produced in Washington state – a volume expected to double over the next five to eight years, with the expansion of regional manufacturing.
CRTC has a supply agreement with Toray Composites America, and discussions are underway with other major carbon fiber scrap producers in Washington and in other parts of the country. This award enables the CRTC to develop the production process and associated machinery to take advantage of the world-wide opportunity of carbon fiber scrap going to landfills.
Funding for the new recycling facility and campus was provided to the Port of Port Angeles by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Washington State Department of Commerce, and the Clallam County Opportunity Fund with the City of Port Angeles providing significant in-kind support.
The CRTC campus also houses Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing-Composite Technology program with classrooms, offices, and lab facilities. The program gives students hands-on training in advanced materials recycling and remanufacturing techniques. Co-location with CRTC provides students with unequaled opportunities for internships, manufacturing and R&D experience, and exposure to production operations.
For more information, see www.compositerecycling.org.