- The Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC), the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), and Peninsula College have signed two agreements to advance the recycling of advanced composite materials.
- This deal makes CRTC a strategic partner in the IACMI, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy in an effort to accelerate commercial composite use.
- The agreement also allows Peninsula College to develop curriculum that includes workforce development in the composites manufacturing industry and offer a "first-of-its-kind" Composite Recycling Certification.
An estimated 29 million pounds of composite scrap are landfilled each year, and only a few facilities exist in the world to recycle the material despite a high market demand. In June 2015, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced a bill to boost the carbon fiber recycling business, and the new partnership will help expand the market, which is expected to reach more than $27 billion this year. Research has shown that recycled carbon fiber requires about a tenth of the energy to produce than new carbon fiber.
Local growth had already begun with construction of the CRTC's new Port Angeles facility where the agreements were signed. The facility broke ground last fall and will employ hundreds of people to process scrap from the automotive and airline industries. Peninsula College's training program will also be housed there.
The CRTC says it's the world's first facility to divert carbon fiber scrap from landfills to be recycled into new products, and combining that knowledge with the national reach of the IACMI has a lot of potential.