PORT ANGELES – In the first 5 months of its operation, the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) has earned the Silver Award for Sustainability from Seattle Business Magazine. A total of 16 awards were made to pioneering Washington manufacturing companies at an awards ceremony Wednesday evening at the Museum of Flight that attracted business leaders from across the state.
“The winners were companies with innovative products who found ways to boost their competitiveness through improved manufacturing processes and effective marketing,” said Leslie Helm, editor of Seattle Business magazine. “It’s companies like these that remind us of the current strength and future promise of Washington’s manufacturing sector.”
David Walter, CRTC’s Chief Operating Officer, accepted the award from Seattle Business Magazine Executive Editor John Levesque at the festivities. “Sustainability is one of the CRTC’s aspirational goals, something we strive to achieve in all our operations,” Walter said. “Our mission is to inspire and grow the global recycled composites industry through innovation in technology and manufacturing. We are proud that our efforts have been recognized so early in our company’s history,”
The award was based on the CRTC’s first product, the Swift pickleball paddle, from the CRTC’s Aero Paddle brand. The paddle, now for sale throughout North America from PickleballCentral.Com, is also for sale in the Museum of Flight’s gift shop. Made from recycled aerospace carbon fiber diverted from Washington’s landfills, the Swift paddle is the first product made from repurposing this remarkable man-made engineered material. The material – lighter than aluminum and stronger than steel – is used to create lightweight airplane parts, but about 50 million pounds of it ends up in landfills globally each year. The high cost of new carbon fiber has prevented it from being used in more common applications, but the CRTC is pioneering the application of low-cost recycled carbon fiber to a growing list of products.
“We are delighted to receive this prestigious award from Seattle Business Magazine for our first product,” said Bob Larsen, CRTC CEO. “If the business community loved our first product, wait until they see the other products we have in our pipeline,” he added. “We are readying a raft of products for the industrial, consumer, and public markets, with several due to be launched before the end of the year. We’re gunning for the Gold Sustainability award for 2018!” The award program was supported by presenting sponsor Chase Commercial Banking and signature sponsors Moss Adams and Impact Washington.
The CRTC, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was launched by the Port of Port Angeles as an economic development initiative to respond to the growing need of the composite and aerospace industries to recycle and reuse remnants from their production processes.
The CRTC is the only facility in the world to divert uncured carbon fiber composite scrap from landfills and transform it into consumer products. It moved into a new production facility on 18th Street in Port Angeles in August, 2016. The CRTC production process using recycled carbon fiber uses only 10 percent of the energy needed for like products made from virgin carbon fiber.
About 29 million pounds of carbon fiber composite scrap ends up in U.S. landfills every year -- 2 million pounds of that is produced in Washington state, which is a volume expected to double over the next five to eight years, with the expansion of regional manufacturing.
The CRTC has a supply and technical support agreement with Toray Composites America, and a multi-faceted agreement with ELG Carbon Fibre for joint recycled carbon fiber supply, and materials and product development.
Funding for the CRTC, its new recycling facility, and production equipment was provided by the Port of Port Angeles, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Washington State Department of Commerce, and the Clallam County Opportunity Fund, with the City of Port Angeles providing significant in-kind support.
The CRTC campus also houses Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing-Composite Technology program with classrooms, offices, and lab facilities. The program gives students hands-on training in advanced materials recycling and remanufacturing techniques. Co-location with CRTC provides students with unequaled opportunities for internships, manufacturing and R&D experience, and exposure to production operations.
For more information, see www.compositerecycling.org.