Carbon fiber recycling agreement signed today

PORT ANGELES — An agreement was signed today creating a new partnership in carbon fiber recycling among the Composite Recycling Technology Center, Peninsula College and the Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Innovation.

Officials representing the three organizations signed memorandums of understanding following remarks by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace, and representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Port of Port Angeles in a packed room at the Composite Recycling Technology Center — referred to as CRTC — located at 2220 W. 18th St.

In July 2015, the Port of Port Angeles was awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to retrofit a facility to house CRTC.

Supporters say the facility will bring 200 new jobs to Port Angeles.

The agreements signed today establish CRTC as a strategic partner and as a West Coast satellite location for the Department of Energy’s Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), which is based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

The signed memorandum of understanding will foster a partnership between CRTC and IACMI, allowing them to share research and development facilities, as well as opportunities for funding and workforce training in the field of carbon fiber recycling.

The agreement also allows Peninsula College to expand its capacity to train people for composites manufacturing.

“Port of Port Angeles is taking the lead for the nation in solving carbon fiber recycling for manufacturing,” Cantwell said.

“This agreement gives the Composite Recycling Technology Center real world-class chops in solving how to break down carbon fiber, which will lead to jobs.”

The CRTC is the world’s first facility to develop carbon fiber composite scrap materials into products that can be used in the automotive, energy and recreational industries, Cantwell said.

Recycling carbon fiber composites saves scrap materials destined for landfills, which can reduce waste and provide significant energy savings during the manufacturing process.

Recycled carbon fiber composites use only one-tenth of the energy compared to manufacturing new carbon fiber composites, according to a press release from Cantwell’s office.

“Innovative products made from recycled carbon fiber provide this region with opportunities for transforming our economy, attracting and training the best and brightest, and leading the nation in sustainable composites manufacturing,” said Robert Larsen, the CEO of the composites center.

“We are pleased to partner with the Composites Institute, a like-minded organization committed to innovation and a green industry future,” he said.

“Our collaboration with Peninsula College will provide the critical workforce needed for success.”

The state of Washington has 96 composite manufacturers, according to Cantwell’s office.

It is estimated that 2 million pounds of carbon fiber scrap waste are sent to Washington’s landfills each year. The potential market value of recycled carbon fiber scrap waste is $50 million, supporters say.

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Reporter Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or [email protected]

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