The Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC), created last year to transform carbon fiber composite pre-preg scrap into new products, announced it will receive $400,000 from IACMI-The Composites Institute as part of a one-year contract to design and build processing equipment which will prepare uncured aerospace carbon fiber scrap for high volume manufacturing applications. CRTC says the contract announcement “further cements the CRTC/IACMI partnership” that was announced last year.

IACMI-The Composites Institute is one of over ten national Manufacturing Innovation Institutes that accelerate U.S. advanced manufacturing by supporting research and development of new technologies, production processes, and workforce training opportunities via shared contributions from the public and private sectors.  IACMI’s focus on advancing composite material technology includes a significant effort in recycling of composite materials – a sizable challenge constraining the growth of the industry.  IACMI is also working with the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) on a flagship recycling project that could eventually make a greater business case for composites recycling.

“Washington state and the Composite Recycling Technology Center are continuing to lead the way on carbon fiber recycling technology,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash). “These are the types of public-private partnerships we should be investing in to grow good paying manufacturing jobs.”

The CRTC plans to begin making products using their unique process by the end of 2017. The company hopes to quadruple the throughput of scrap material by the middle of 2018. CRTC says the manufacturing machinery developed under this contract will be instrumental in growing the number and volume of products made at the center.  Additionally, the technology developed by the CRTC will be made available to other facilities seeking to recycle composites in high volume, boosting the emergence of this new industry.

“The IACMI contract is a landmark achievement,” says CRTC CEO Bob Larsen. “It validates the CRTC’s technology approach from the national level and is a strong vote of confidence in our young company and its business plans.  It supports our drive to self-sufficiency and for creating good-paying local jobs and advances the growth of the carbon fiber recycling industry, a core part of the CRTC’s and IACMI’s missions.”

The contract also includes planning support from the CRTC for IACMI’s recycled composites program.  The CRTC will be working closely with IACMI’s Materials and Processing researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville throughout the contract.  The technical targets of this project will provide the building blocks for future programs in higher-throughput advanced recycled carbon fiber equipment development, which CRTC says will lead to the use of repurposed carbon composite scrap in vehicles and clean energy production applications within five years.