Port of Port Angeles Breaks Ground on the Composite Recycling Technology Center
PORT ANGELES –Governor Jay Inslee, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer, Toray Composites America, Peninsula College, WSU, Janicki Industries and other representatives helped the Port of Port Angeles break ground on a new Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) today at the Port’s Composite Manufacturing Campus.
The project will complete a 25,000 square foot shell building to house offices, laboratories, classrooms and manufacturing space for the recycling center and Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing – Composite Technology training program. The center will convert carbon fiber composite scrap material, left over from transportation and other advanced manufacturing industries, into new and useful products. It will create hundreds of local living wage jobs, while diverting millions of pounds of composite materials from the region’s landfills.
Governor Jay Inslee and Congressman Derek Kilmer headlined the groundbreaking ceremony, while local dignitaries and industry leaders addressed an energized crowd. One of the shovels utilized for the groundbreaking ceremony was made of recycled carbon fiber, with materials donated by Janicki Industries. The new technology center will put Port Angeles on the worldwide stage in composite manufacturing and recycling.
“As we break ground today to start construction within the Port’s facility, we look forward to the Composite Recycling Technology Center implementing its groundbreaking vision to pioneer the re-use of carbon fiber scraps into new products,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “I’m pleased that our Clean Energy Fund matching grant will support the research, development, and demonstration of new lightweight materials through recycling of composites. This is an excellent example of a community with a vision for how clean technology will create jobs and grow a sustainable economy.”
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer added: “I’m proud to have supported an innovative project that not only leverages our region’s workforce and expertise, but helps to create a better future for our region. This is a great example of how investing in innovation can help us create new jobs and grow our economy.”
Support from Sen. Cantwell
Due to planned votes and official Senate business, U.S. Senator Cantwell could not join the ceremony in person but has been a strong supporter for composite recycling. She introduced a bill and recently passed out of committee new legislation that includes provisions to study technology and energy savings of recycled carbon fiber and directs the US Department of Energy to collaborate with the automotive and aviation industry to develop a recycled carbon fiber demonstration project. As ranking member of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Cantwell introduced a bipartisan energy bill to help take Port of Port Angeles project to the national level and increase carbon fiber recycling all across the country. A letter was read on Senator Cantwell’s behalf by a member of her staff.
“Washington has a long tradition of creating innovative, next generation solutions to 21st Century challenges. I’m proud to have supported the Port’s $2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration and will continue to find ways to support the composites industry in Washington,” said Senator Cantwell. “This project’s unique application will reduce waste, increase efficiency, save energy and expand our region’s technical expertise in manufacturing composite materials. Instead of discarding carbon fiber waste, this project will transform scrap material into new products and create hundreds of good paying jobs for Clallam County.”
New technologies, new markets
Tim Kirk, Vice President at Toray Composites America, described the industry’s need to recapture value from carbon fiber and the alignment with the CRTC.
“As the value of carbon fiber composites continues to transform transportation systems through lightweighting and increased efficiency, we have a responsibility to continually look at the full lifecycle of our products,” Kirk said. ”Toray Composites America views the Composite Recycling Technology Center as an incubator to pioneer new ways to recapture the full value of carbon fiber composite materials. We foresee new developments, new technologies and new markets; and we see great alignment with the CRTC mission and the broader needs of the carbon fiber materials lifecycle.”
CRTC is a joint effort of the Port of Port Angeles, Peninsula College, City of Port Angeles, and Clallam County, with significant involvement from Washington State University, and other workforce training, research and industry partners throughout the U.S.
Funding includes $1 million in Washington State Clean Energy funds, $1 million from the Clallam County Opportunity Fund, and $2 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). This project also received a boost by being included in the EDA’s designated Washington Aerospace Manufacturing Community, which is administered by the Puget Sound Regional Council. This makes it one of a few Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership regions that receives preferential consideration for certain federal grants. Representatives from each organization were on hand to participate in the ceremony.
Housed within the Port’s facility, the CRTC will operate an independent nonprofit organization managed by a newly formed Board of Directors. The mission of the CRTC is to lead and grow a composite recycling industry that fully diverts Washington State’s carbon fiber scrap into value-added products.
Partnerships with WA higher education
The facility will also house Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing – Composite Technology training program, to support the training of a workforce prepared for and accomplished in the composite recycling industry.
“Peninsula College is proud to be a key partner in the CRTC,” said Luke Robbins, President of Peninsula College. “This project brings together workforce training, R&D capacity, and local industry in a collaborative venture. We believe it has great potential to benefit our students, the industry, and our local economy.”
Peninsula College’s program prepares students for the wide-ranging field of composite structure fabrication and repair. Through classroom work and hands-on training, Peninsula College’s Composites Technology program equips students with skills necessary for employment in the aerospace, marine, and recreational equipment industries, as well as many others that use composite materials.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed this morning by CRTC and Washington State University (WSU). CRTC and WSU plan to collaborate on educational opportunities, as well as process science and materials development related to recycled composite materials. WSU also plans to participate in the testing and evaluation of materials and products from the CRTC.
"WSU is proud to partner with the CRTC to address today's challenges in composite recycling,” said Dr. Christopher Keane, Vice President of Research at Washington State University. “WSU’s research, engagement, and economic development efforts are strongly aligned with those of the CRTC and we are excited about the potential of this partnership."