Port Angeles, Wash.-based Composite Recycling Technology Center has received $10,000 in seed money from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for a pilot project to create park benches with recycled CFRP. According to CRTC’s CEO Bob Larsen, the money will offset the costs of prototyping and a portion of development costs.
As Larsen explains, CRTC had been in talks with the city for the past few months about contributing to Port Angeles’ longstanding memorial bench project. He says the benches the city has been using for the past 20 years have been made with treated wood and steel, two conventional materials that corrode and rust due to the presence of saltwater. Larsen says that every 5-6 years, the city has to replace and recondition these benches, and that the cost of doing so has become excessive. He contends that CRTC’s recycled carbon fiber, combined with a specialized UV coating, makes benches lighter and provides 50 years of durability. Carbon fiber/coating combination also makes it easy to remove graffiti from the benches.
“The more we looked at it, the more we realized this is a pretty good market,” Larsen said.
Last year, CRTC signed a memorandum of understanding with Toray Composites America (TCA). TCA’s primary role is to provide the supply of scrap carbon fiber materials for CRTC products including the park benches. CRTC will also work with local sculptor Bob Stokes, who has never worked with composites before.
The back and seat of the benches will be cured in an oven, while the legs will be compression molded with CRTC’s water jet technology. Larsen says the benches can be assembled onsite in roughly ten minutes.
The bench is the company’s second product since its launch in 2015. Last year, the company released recycled aerospace-grade pickleball paddles. Larsen believes the success of the benches could lead to other markets, including carbon fiber cables and chairs. The company also plans to release two more products before the end of the year.