Port of Port Angeles Receives Notice of Funding to Support Composites Recycling

Port of Port Angeles Receives Notice of $2 Million in Federal Funding, $712,000 in State Funding and $1 Million in Clallam County Funding to Support Composites Recycling

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration provided notice of preliminary selection for the Port of Port Angeles’ application for $2 million to retrofit a building to house the industrial and workforce training facilities for the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC).

"I'm pleased to congratulate Port Angeles on being selected for a $2 million federal grant to create a Composite Recycling Technology Center for converting composite waste materials from our state’s advanced manufacturers into innovative new products,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “We committed $712,000 from the Clean Energy Fund as a partial match for this project which is another example of how clean technology could create job opportunities. This is a local community taking its economic future in its own hands. They've established a vision, partnered early and often with the state Department of Commerce. I am proud to see the Port achieving this milestone and look forward to continue our work together."

“Washington state continues to grow as a world leader in sustainable aerospace and industrial manufacturing,” Cantwell said in a March 2015 letter in support of the Port of Port Angeles’ grant application. “The center provides a profound opportunity to develop a new market in composite recycling while promoting a highly trained manufacturing workforce in the Pacific Northwest.”

“Today is a win for advanced manufacturing in Port Angeles,” said Representative Derek Kilmer. “This investment is recognition that our region is ready to be a hub for composite breakthroughs. 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.”

The federal award is contingent upon providing additional documentation, including firm commitments to the Port for the $2 million match requirement. Less than two business days after receipt of the Federal notice, the Clallam County Board of Commissioners took action to provide $1 million in Opportunity Funds to the Port for the necessary infrastructure. The Port now has the remaining matching funds committed for this $4 million infrastructure investment to support innovative manufacturing utilizing composite scrap materials.

These announcements come less than a month after the Port briefed U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Jay Williams about the recycling center at meeting arranged by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC). PSRC led the effort to secure a federal “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” designation – one of only 12 in the country – that partners like Port Angeles can use to get priority for federal funding like the $2 million U.S. EDA grant. This recycling center project was chosen as one of just six Catalytic Investments in the state’s winning designation.

“We are pleased that the federal manufacturing designation is paying off for our partners across the state,” said Josh Brown, PSRC Executive Director. “This project is important to aerospace and other advanced manufacturers around the world who are looking for options for unused carbon composites to avoid putting it in landfills. Port Angeles’ Composite Recycling Technology Center will be the first in the world to focus on recycle of uncured carbon fiber prepreg so it can be converted directly into other products.”

This public-private effort has been developed in partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce, Governor’s Office, Clallam County, City of Port Angeles, Peninsula College, and numerous private companies and research institutions. 

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 planned to be open as soon as January 2016 and will house the CRTC and Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing – Composites program.  Economic Impact Analysis 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 (Olympus Consulting, 2015).  

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration’s mission is to lead the Federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy (http://www.eda.gov/).

The Washington State Clean Energy Fund, established in 2013, supports projects that develop, demonstrate and deploy clean energy technologies with potential to save energy, reduce energy costs, reduce carbon pollution and increase Washington’s energy independence. 

The Puget Sound Regional Council is a regional planning agency responsible for transportation planning, economic development and growth management. PSRC helps local governments and transportation agencies to plan for the future of our region by addressing issues that go beyond the boundaries of any individual city or county (http://www.psrc.org/).

Peninsula College provides educational opportunities in the areas of academic transfer, professional and technical, basic skills, and continuing education. The College also contributes to the cultural and economic enrichment of Clallam and Jefferson Counties. More information on their Advanced Manufacturing – Composites Technology Program can be found at: http://pencol.edu/proftech/composites-technology

Clallam County provides services as required by law or mandated by the public. Through effective management of personnel and other resources, the County strives to provide the basic facilities and programs, which promote health, safety, and quality of life for its citizens. Opportunity Funds come from state sales tax, and can only be used to construct public facilities that promote economic development. (http://www.clallam.net/index.html).

The Port of Port Angeles is responsible for promoting and enhancing the economic vitality of Clallam County through business development and job creation, and serves the community as both a public steward and an economically self-sustaining enterprise. For more information regarding the Port’s CRTC efforts, please visit: http://www.portofpa.com/Index.aspx?NID=152.