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Partnerships for carbon fiber recycling and workforce development

News International-French

4 Jul 2016

The agreements establish the Port Angeles, WA-based Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) as a strategic partner and West Coast satellite location for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), and allows Peninsula College to expand their capacity to train the composites manufacturing workforce of the future.

Senator Cantwell led the ceremonial announcement of historic agreements between a Tennessee-based national composites manufacturing institute, a facility for product development from recycled carbon, and a Washington-based college.

Stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum, carbon fiber composites are revolutionizing the aerospace industry. But 29 million pounds of composite scrap end up in US landfills every year– a challenge the new partnership will meet head on. IACMI, CRTC and Peninsula College leadership signed three way collaboration agreements to develop nationally deployable composites recycling technologies and train the advanced composites workforce of the future. 

This new partnership will add CRTC’s expertise in composite recycling to The Composites Institute, and serve to broaden the national impact of the Institute while expanding the capabilities of the Port Angeles facility. CRTC will serve as the West Coast “portal” for the Institute, working with other research institutions, industry and more on behalf of The Composites Institute. In addition, CRTC will have access to world-class level facilities, equipment and partners.

“Port of Port Angeles is taking the lead for the nation in solving carbon fiber recycling for manufacturing,” said U.S. Senator Cantwell. “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 Composite Recycling Technology Center is a facility which aims to divert uncured carbon fiber scrap from the landfill into innovative new products. IACMI-The Composites Institute, is the fifth Institute in the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation, with a focus deployment of advanced composites in clean energy technologies. It’s supported by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and was created by the federal government to support US manufacturing by accelerating the development and commercial use of composites.

“This new partnership will help drive advancements across the board in clean energy innovations,” said Dr. Mark Johnson, Director, Advanced Manufacturing Office, U.S. Department of Energy. “It represents tremendous potential to innovate in the US and coordinate with groups across the nation to unlock this potential for a cleaner, safer, and economically secure future.”

Last week, the Obama Administration announced that WA based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is part of the team awarded the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the ninth manufacturing hub to be awarded. These innovation ecosystems will work to strengthen the Pacific Northwest’s leadership role in manufacturing. From aerospace to automotive, Washington State’s industry and research community is leading the way in composite manufacturing innovation. Composites play a critical role in the Washington State manufacturing ecosystem and clean tech future. As the value of composites continues to transform systems through opportunities in light-weighting, recycled carbon fiber offers exciting possibilities for fuel, energy and emission savings.

“Washington’s Clean Energy Fund is helping communities across the state, and nowhere is this better exemplified than in Port Angeles," said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington Department of Commerce, which administers the fund through the State Energy Office. “This facility shines a light on Washington as home to communities that are shaping the future of manufacturing and clean technology."

Craig Blue, CEO of The Composites Institute, agreed, stating, “This collaboration reinforces our mission to accelerate the development and adoption of cutting-edge technologies for low-cost, energy-efficient manufacturing of advanced composites, positively impacting clean energy innovation and workforce development. It also creates a satellite operation for IACMI in the Washington area and provides a presence in the Pacific Northwest, which is critical to our long-term growth strategy.”

“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, CRTC CEO. “We are pleased to partner with The Composites Institute, a like-minded organization committed to innovation and a green industry future. Our collaboration with Peninsula College will provide the critical workforce needed for success.”

Peninsula College will support the partnership through its Advanced Manufacturing - Composite Technology program, including the first-of-its-kind Composite Recycling Certification, and hands on Composites Manufacturing Lab, to be located in the CRTC facility at the Port of Port Angeles. The program will give students hands-on training in advanced materials recycling and remanufacturing techniques.

“We’re excited to be participating in the development of the CRTC as a key educational partner,” said Luke Robins, President of Peninsula College. “Partnerships such as the CRTC create great synergy between public and private entities, provide outstanding learning opportunities for our students, and can be dynamic catalysts for economic development for our region. We look forward with great anticipation as the CRTC develops and matures.”

The ceremony was held at the multimillion dollar CRTC facility, which broke ground in September 2015. The doors were opened for this event, with a Ribbon Cutting celebration planned for late summer. The CRTC facility complements the needs of The Composites Institute members and supporters across the national composites network.

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