PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles is poised to renew its agreement with the Composite Recycling Technology Center and fulfill its financial commitment to the nonprofit for 2017.
Port commissioners discussed the agreement during a work session Monday and will consider approving the agreement during its Jan. 9 meeting.
If approved, the port will pay the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) $732,911, fulfilling the $1.35 million the port committed to the nonprofit in 2015.
This comes days after the CRTC unveiled its first product, a recycled aerospace-quality carbon fiber pickleball paddle, which officials say is the first of many products the facility will produce as it works toward building a new industry and providing local jobs.
The paddles will sell exclusively through Pickleball Central, of Kent, for $99 each.
They are expected to be available in early 2017.
“This is a massive win not just for our community, but for our state,” said Colleen McAleer, port commissioner.
“I think we’re going to see more ports doing this kind of work moving forward.”
So far the CRTC has created 10 jobs.
Officials anticipate it will create 111 jobs within five years.
The proposed agreements require the CRTC to help the port in its goals set forth in the action plan for composite recycling economic and industrial development.
Those goals include development of additional CRTC productions, hiring a management team and critical staff.
In 2017, the CRTC is to provide quarterly progress updates and a report on the state of the recycled composites industry.
One of the hurdles the CRTC is facing now is developing machinery to process the carbon fiber that comes into it.
The CRTC is working with scraps that come in irregular shapes, said its CEO, Bob Larsen.
“What we’re doing right now is developing the machinery that will allow us to mechanize the chopping of the material,” he said. “That’s not easy to do.”
Once the machinery is developed, he said the CRTC will be able to process thousands of pounds of carbon fiber daily.
Among the CRTC’s goals is to divert 2 million pounds of carbon fiber composites from landfills and recycle at least 1 million pounds of carbon fiber scrap per year by 2022.
“We have to have this technology,” Larsen said.
Commissioners lauded the CRTC for its work with Peninsula College.
Chief Operations Officer Dave Walter said college students helped the CRTC make the first batch of pickleball paddles and that the CRTC is working with the college in other ways.
When hiring, Walter said the nonprofit would give a high priority to interviewing PC students for positions.
“It’s an amazing opportunity because not many businesses have a college enterprise in their same building,” he said, adding the CRTC is already looking at internships.
Larsen said he plans to give an annual and fourth quarter update during the port’s meeting Jan. 23.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].