Democratic News

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) applauded the announcement of a $2 million grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to the Port of Port Angeles to retrofit a building that will house industrial and workforce training facilities for the Composite Recycling Technology Center. The project will create an estimated 111 jobs.

"Washington is already leading in carbon fiber production. Now we want to lead in carbon fiber recycling. Port Angeles is leading the way, and the Department of Commerce grant will help this community solve some of the recycling challenges," Sen. Cantwell said.

This grant helps to build on legislation Sen. Cantwell introduced in May, the Carbon Fiber Recycling Act of 2015 (S. 1432), to study the technology and energy savings of recycling carbon fiber and to direct 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 before the committee, Sen. Cantwell commended the Port and Port Commissioner Colleen McAleer 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. “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,” Sen. Cantwell said.

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 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, Clallam County, City of Port Angeles, Peninsula College, and numerous private companies and research institutions. The Port committed the remaining matching funds for this $4 million infrastructure investment to support innovative manufacturing utilizing composite scrap materials.

Carbon fiber composites are lightweight, super-strong materials used to build everything from aircraft and automobile parts to golf clubs and surfboards. The center will develop a center to recycle carbon fiber composite scrap into useful products, helping to create jobs, while reducing negative environmental impacts.