Peninsula College composites program’s open house set Tuesday in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College will host an open house for its advanced manufacturing and composites technology program Tuesday.

The free event will be from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the new Composite Recycling Technology Center building at 2220 W. 18th St. near William R. Fairchild International Airport in west Port Angeles. Refreshments will be provided.

The open house will showcase composite recycling technology with hands-on demonstrations of ultra-strong, lightweight composite materials, said Jill teVelde, Peninsula College director of Workforce Development.

The first manufacturing product will be announced in the coming weeks, Composite Recycling Technology Center CEO Bob Larsen said Friday.

Visitors will have a chance to meet Peninsula College students and faculty, speak to industry professionals, tour the school’s manufacturing lab, watch live demonstrations and enter a contest to win a snowboard made of composite material, teVelde said.

Thanks to its partnership with the Composite Recycling Technology Center, or CRTC, Peninsula College is the only college in the state to teach a composites recycling class.

“The co-location is really important because the CRTC is the only organization of its kind right now,” teVelde said.

Gov. Jay Inslee and other dignitaries attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the publicly funded CRTC in September 2015. A ribbon-cutting ceremony opened the building Sept. 1.

The Peninsula College advanced manufacturing and composites technology program prepares students for careers in aerospace, marine, recreational equipment and other industries that use composite materials, according to the school website.

Recycled carbon-fiber is five times stronger than steel and can be used to make things such as solar panel frames, computer cases, ski poles, snowboards, bicycles and golf clubs, researchers say.

In a Friday interview, Larsen said the CRTC will announce an agreement for the national distribution of its first product through a leading online retailer within the next two weeks.

The first product is classified as a high-performance sporting good, Larsen has said.

The CRTC, a start-up nonprofit, is close to signing a $1.7 million state Department of Commerce Clean Energy 2 grant that will accelerate production, he said.

Last summer, the CRTC became a West Coast satellite location for the Department of Energy’s Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation in Tennessee.

“We have a lot of cool things happening,” Larsen said.

CRTC officials have said the facility will bring 200 new jobs to Port Angeles over the next six years.

The CRTC building was funded by a $2 million U.S. Department of Commerce grant, a $1 million Clallam County Opportunity Fund grant and $1.35 million in Port of Port Angeles funding.

The Peninsula College advanced manufacturing and composites technology program is housed at the CRTC to allow students to participate in a real-world manufacturing environment, officials said.

The open house Tuesday will highlight the advanced manufacturing and composites technology program and provide information about a “full slate” of Peninsula College programs, teVelde said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.