Vartega selected for Colorado NextCycle Program


Eric Heyboer, Recycling Grants Administrator

DENVER— The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has chosen nine teams for the Colorado NextCycle program. During the open application period late last year, teams from around North America pitched recycled material end-market business ideas for the Colorado marketplace.

The nine teams selected for the first-of-its-kind pilot program will each receive a $5,000 business development grant, mentoring from the Colorado NextCycle technical advisory committee, and technical support from RRS, the recycling and sustainability consulting firm assisting with the Colorado NextCycle program. The support will help the chosen teams further refine their recovered/recycled material end-market business ideas. They will pitch their ideas at the state’s largestrecycling conference in June and will have the ability to submit their business ideas for the 2019 department grant cycle for funding to implement their business proposals in Colorado.

"I am so excited to see companies develop bold and innovative ways to reduce waste," said the department's Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan. "Colorado NextCycle provides the technical and financial support needed to turn great ideas into reality, and that's a win for all of us."

The nine teams include:


  • Headquartered: Silver Spring, Maryland

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Engineer and build a processing plant in Pueblo, Colorado, for transforming hemp and cannabis waste stalk and stems into fiber for use in textile, absorbent, industrial, bioplastic, semi-conductor, carbon-fiber, construction, fuel and automotive applications.

Direct Polymers

  • Headquartered: Denver

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Add the ability to wash, blend and pelletize difficult-to-recycle plastic streams containing labels, liquids, dirt and other contaminates at an existing Commerce City facility.


  • Headquartered: Netherlands/Chelsea, Vermont

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Identify second North American site to manufacture ekomats, a multipurpose mat made of recycled #4 LDPE plastic film waste used in construction, residential, industrial and various service industries.

Natural Buildings Innovation

  • Headquartered: Gunnison, Colorado

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Research and marketing to scale existing operations receiving, retrieving and processing standing dead trees into custom wood products and building materials for the local economy.


  • Headquartered: Salt Lake City

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Feasibility study for new facility in Colorado for converting plastic waste from material recovery facilities and municipal drop-off locations into fuel products and feedstocks.


  • Headquartered: to be determined

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Site facility in Colorado for refurbishing end-of-life solar panels for resale to nonprofits, indigenous tribes, companies that build off-grid systems and do-it-yourselfers.

San Juan Organics

  • Headquartered: Durango, Colorado

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Research to develop business and site plan for an aggregation and processing facility to create local organic compost and soil amendments from organic scrap.

Spring Back Colorado

  • Headquartered: Commerce City, Colorado

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Feasibility of operating a steel shredding machine in existing Commerce City location to allow for in-house shredding of steel mattress coils into acceptable end-market form and potential for receiving and processing coils from other mattress recyclers.


  • Headquartered: Golden, Colorado

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Identify thermoplastic and carbon fiber waste streams for reforming/repurposing material into an engineered composite manufacturing feedstock for use in the automotive, sporting goods and 3D printing industries.

For more information, access the Colorado NextCycle web page.

IACMI – The Composites Institute is Closing the Loop on Automotive Carbon Fiber Prepreg Manufacturing Scrap


Knoxville, Tenn., October 16, 2018The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), a 160+ member, University of Tennessee, Knoxville and U.S. Department of Energy driven consortium committed to increasing domestic production capacity and manufacturing jobs across the U.S. composites industry, announces a project to close the loop on automotive carbon fiber prepreg manufacturing scrap for use in new automotive applications. The project, which is led by Vartega, a start-up company focused on carbon fiber recycling, with project partners including Michelman, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines, Michigan State University, the University of Dayton Research Laboratory, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Additional project support is provided by Ford, BASF, and Plasan Carbon Composites.

The two-year technical collaboration will address the challenges of creating consistent recycled carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics for use in vehicle lightweighting applications. Through the use of innovative and novel enabling technologies the project team will characterize and validate materials to meet the growing demand for cost effective carbon fiber needed for vehicle weight reductions to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and extend electric vehicle range.

“Carbon fiber recycling technology has matured significantly over the past decade, but several challenges still exist in producing materials at automotive scale. We recognized that a holistic approach needed to be taken to create supply chain solutions for recycled carbon fiber,” said Andrew Maxey, Vartega CEO. “In our work with the project team we’ll be able to demonstrate the viability of a circular economy for recycled carbon fiber combined with optimized sizing chemistries and commercial scale thermoplastic processing for automotive applications.”


“IACMI’s commitment to composites recycling and ability to facilitate projects that connect small and medium enterprises with large organizations are our institute’s DNA,” said John Hopkins, IACMI CEO. “This project is a great example of how manufacturers throughout the supply chain are coming together to solve difficult technical and business challenges.”


In addition to its work on this IACMI project, Vartega also has plans to install a commercial recycling system in the IACMI Scale-Up Research Facility (SURF) located in the Corktown area of Detroit. The SURF is located a half-mile away from the Michigan Central Train Depot which was recently acquired by Ford Motor Company as the centerpiece for its new mobility, autonomy, and electrification Corktown campus.

The Vartega-led project is supported in part through IACMI state partners including the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (COEDIT),  Tennessee Department of Economic and Community DevelopmentJobsOhio, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).  These state partners catalyze innovation by supporting IACMI and its members.

About IACMI-The Composites Institute: The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation (CCS), is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments working together to benefit the nation’s energy and economic security by sharing existing resources and co-investing to accelerate innovative research and development in the advanced composites field. CCS is a not-for-profit organization established by The University of Tennessee Research Foundation. The national Manufacturing USA institute is supported by a $70 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, and over $180 million committed from IACMI’s partners. Find out more at

Media Contact:

Emily King Kinsey

IACMI-The Composites Institute


Vartega selected as 2018 Colorado Cleantech Awards Finalist

GOLDEN, Colo. - Oct. 15, 2018 -- The Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) today named 10 companies and three individuals as finalists for the Colorado Cleantech Awards. Celebrating 10 years of CCIA in 2018, the Cleantech Awards honor leadership in advancing cleantech job creation, corporate growth, individual effort and innovation. Winners will be announced on October 24 at the Colorado Cleantech Awards Celebration in Boulder, Colorado.

Company finalists were selected based on their ability to impact the clean technology marketplace, successful fundraising efforts, ability to scale technology, and statewide job creation impact. Individuals were selected for their commitment to expanding Colorado's cleantech ecosystem and their devotion to the growth of their respective organizations.

"We saw a sharp spike in the number of nominees in 2018, reflecting on the growing success of clean energy and clean technology in Colorado," said to CCIA executive director Shelly Curtiss. "With such a large pool of competitors, our judges had a very challenging time narrowing the field to these finalists. Colorado's cleantech companies continue to drive change and innovation across multiple industry sectors and the nominees this year could not be more representative of the breadth of technologies found in today's cleantech ecosystem."

The 2018 Colorado Cleantech Awards Finalists are:

Black Bear Energy
Bolder Industries
Cool Planet
SunTech Drive

Hygge Power
Lever Energy Capital
Scale Microgrid Systems

Forge Nano

Dave Lisle of Silver Bullet
Tim Reeser of Lightning Systems
Tony Wibbeler of Bolder Industries

CCIA has also announced the 2018 Colorado Legislator of the Year Award, which will be presented to House Representative Chris Hansen at the Awards.

The Colorado Cleantech Awards Celebration will be held October 24 from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. at Rayback Collective in Boulder. For more information, visit:

About CCIA

Founded in 2008, Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) is a statewide organization dedicated to promoting Colorado's cleantech industries. CCIA impacts Colorado's policies, people, products and programs that drive expansion of a cleaner, cheaper, more efficient and secure energy economy. Through advocacy, public policy leadership, development and education, CCIA works to ensure that Colorado is a global cleantech leader. For more information about CCIA, visit:

Emily Long
Colorado Cleantech Industries Association