The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration today announced a $2 million grant to the Port of Port Angeles to retrofit a building that will house the industrial and workforce training facilities for the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC). The project will create an estimated 111 jobs.
“The Obama Administration has taken unprecedented steps to support workforce development and green initiatives and is deeply committed to strengthening America’s workforce and protecting the environment,” said Secretary Pritzker in the U.S. Department of Commerce news release. “This EDA investment supports recycling and environmental stewardship and will provide critical job training in Washington.”
This federal grant was made possible by a $1 million commitment from the Washington State Clean Energy Fund, combined with an additional $1 million in local government funds for the needed dollar-for-dollar match.
"This $2 million federal grant brings the Composite Recycling Technology Center one step closer to its goal of converting composite waste materials from our state’s advanced manufacturers into innovative new products,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “I’m pleased that our Clean Energy Fund matching grant contributed to this important funding milestone for the center. This is a tremendous example of a community with a vision for how clean technology will create jobs and opportunity to secure its economic future.”
The Washington Legislature this year approved $40 million for 2015-17 Clean Energy Fund 2. The CRTC plans to apply for $1.35M in equipment funding, to be matched with local funding sources, to complete the final funding package needed for the CRTC to become operational.
"Washington is already leading in carbon fiber production. Now we want to lead in carbon fiber recycling,” Senator Cantwell said. “Port Angeles is leading the way, and the Department of Commerce grant will help this community solve some of the recycling challenges,". Senator Cantwell has proposed S. 1432, the Carbon Fiber Recycling Act of 2015 (bill text and bill summary, to study technology and energy savings of recycled carbon fiber and directs the Department of Energy to collaborate with the automotive and aviation industry to develop a recycled carbon fiber demonstration project. At the hearing for this bill in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Sen. Cantwell commended the Port for their leadership and vision in converting a displaced workforce and unused facilities into an innovative market that is creating local jobs, reducing landfill waste and saving energy by recycling scrap fibers. According to Sen. Cantwell’s opening statement; “The commissioner and her colleagues are working on innovations in composite materials that help improve fuel efficiency, whether we’re talking about automobiles or aerospace—and that market is expected to grow to $26 billion by next year.”
“I’m proud to support the Port of Port Angeles in their work to provide workforce training and economic growth in the region in an innovative way,” said Senator Murray. “This investment in the Composite Recycling Technology Center will help support the Port's efforts to lay down a strong foundation for long-term economic growth and job creation that would benefit the community, the environment, and the local economy.”
“This investment is recognition that our region is ready to be a hub for composite breakthroughs” said Representative Derek Kilmer. “When the new facility opens its doors it will help us grow quality jobs and show the rest of the nation how we can turn yesterday’s recycled parts into tomorrow’s advanced products. Everyone involved had their oars in the water, everyone rowed in the same direction. As a result, now we are seeing progress for the community.”
This public-private collaborative effort has been led by the Port of Port Angeles, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce, Governor Inslee’s Office, Peninsula College, Clallam County, City of Port Angeles, and numerous private companies and research institutions. This project also received a boost by being part of US EDA’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program. Clallam County is included in the EDA designated Washington Aerospace Manufacturing Community, which is administered by the Puget Sound Regional Council. This makes it one of two dozen regions nationwide that receives preferential consideration for certain federal grants.
Carbon fiber composites are lightweight, super strong materials used to build everything from aircraft and automobile parts to golf clubs and surf boards. The CRTC will develop a reprocessing center to convert composite waste streams into useful products to create jobs and income, while reducing negative environmental impact. For example, Peninsula College students have been making I-beams in their classroom lab, and these could be utilized for applications such as solar panel mounts.
The Port facility is slated to open in early 2016 and will house the CRTC and Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing – Composites Technology program. Economic impact analysis conducted by Olympus Consulting for the CRTC estimates the center would provide 111 direct family-wage jobs by its fifth year of operation. By the sixth year, an additional 89 jobs will be created in advanced composites as products are spun off to the private sector. An additional 140 jobs will be supported elsewhere in the economy as a result of these new productive enterprises.