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Washington City Looks to Expand Composite Recycling with Planned Center

Officials in Port Angeles, Wash., has broken ground on a composite recycling technology center that will convert carbon fiber composite scrap material into new products.

The operation will be housed in a 25,000-sq.-ft. building at the Port’s Composite Manufacturing Campus to house manufacturing, offices, laboratories and classrooms for the recycling center and Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing–Composite Technology training program, according to a news release.

The facility will use scrap left over from transportation and other advanced manufacturing industries. It will create hundreds of jobs, according to the Port of Port Angeles.

The Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) is a joint project of the port and city of Port Angeles, Peninsula College and Clallam County. It also includes significant involvement from Washington State University and other workforce training, research and industry partners through the United States.

The composites industry needs to recapture value from carbon fiber and align with the CRTC, said Tim Kirk, vice president for Toray Composites America. “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.”

Funding for the project 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.

The CRTC will operate as an independent, non-profit organization.

In June Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell introduced a bill to the Senate to develop the carbon fiber recycling business. The bill called for a study of the technology and energy savings of recycled carbon fiber and directs the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to collaborate with the automotive and aviation industry to develop a recycled carbon fiber demonstration project.

Meanwhile, the city of Port Angeles had a setback at the beginning of the year when it had to ante up an additional $1 million to dispose of asbestos it didn’t expect to find as it stabilized its closed landfill. The asbestos was part of the 400,000 cubic yards of trash the city is moving away from a bluff above the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the wake of the discovery that the material was threatening to tumble into the Strait.

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