Washington governor Jay Inslee has broken ground on a composite recycling technology centre (CRTC) near William R Fairchild international airport.

The centre will be constructed on industrial ground owned by Port Angles and is expected to be finished next year.

The US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) has granted $2m to the project to help recycle composite materials such as carbon-fibre scrap from the aerospace industry in Port Angeles.

Jay Inslee said: "As we break ground today to start construction within the port’s facility, we look forward to the composite recycling technology centre implementing its groundbreaking vision to pioneer the re-use of carbon fibre scraps into new products.

"I’m pleased that our Clean Energy Fund matching grant will support the research, development, and demonstration of new lightweight materials through recycling of composites.

The State of Washington’s Clean Energy Fund also contributed $1m for the project.

The CRTC building will provide space for local Peninsula College, which will shift its advanced manufacturing composite technology training programme to CRTC.

"Composite Recycling Technology Centre [is] an incubator to pioneer new ways to recapture the full value of carbon fibre composite materials."

Washington State University will also help research better recycling materials at CRTC.

Washington State University vice-president of research Christopher Keane said: "WSU’s research, engagement and economic development efforts are strongly aligned with those of the CRTC, and we are excited about the potential of this partnership."

The facility is expected to create a maximum of 111 direct jobs by 2021, and 340 direct, indirect and induced jobs by 2022.

An estimated £2m of composite wastes, most from aerospace companies, is generated in the state every year.

Over time, the aerospace industry has started using lightweight carbon fibre composites as an environmentally friendly product, which helps minimise carbon emissions; however, disposal of leftovers from the manufacturing industry is an environmental problem. The centre will prevent the composite material being sent to landfill.

Toray Composites America vice-president Tim Kirk said: "As the value of carbon fibre composites continues to transform transportation systems through lightweighting and increased efficiency, we have a responsibility to continually look at the full lifecycle of our products.

"Toray Composites America views the Composite Recycling Technology Centre as an incubator to pioneer new ways to recapture the full value of carbon fibre composite materials."

Image: Port Angles breaks ground of a composite recycling technology centre. Photo: courtesy of Port Angeles.