PILOTS STRATEGY 2

Long fiber and matrix demanufacturing, textile reprocessing and re-use.

Input material will be mainly related to Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastics scraps and waste from wind energy sector. High efficiency pyrolysis will be used to obtain long fibers clean and with a minimal decrease of mechanical performances. Innovative re-sizing and textile reprocessing of the recovered carbon fibers will lead to a variety of textile products like continuous roving or mats that will allow the realization of products for aerospace sector and markets with a high demand of cheaper Carbon Fibers (as automotive).

Pilot strategy

Core Area
Basque Country
Demo-Cases
5
End users
5
Involved sectors
4
Reprocessing Techs
3

Strategic importance of the pilot

The demand for CFRP has tripled from 2010 to 2020 and is expected to surpass 190 kt by year 2050. The global CFRP demand in 2018 shows a predominant use in the aerospace sector, which constitutes 73% of CFRP sales. The global growth in CFRP use has brought a concomitant increase in the production scraps and EoL components (e.g. decommissioned aircraft). The annual waste to be processed will reach estimated 34.2 kt in 2050. The production of virgin carbon fibers is an energy-intensive process which consumes around 198-595 MJ/Kg. As a result, carbon fibers possess a much higher (approx. 10 times) embodied energy than other synthetic fibers such as glass. Recovering efficiently can hence significantly reduce their potential environmental impact. According to the recent literature, less than 40 MJ/Kg is consumed to recycle CFRP, which is close to 10-30% of the total energy required to manufacture virgin fibers. As for the cost, a recent report found that that the recovery of CF can be achieved at 5$/Kg, which accounts for approx.15% of the cost of virgin fibers.

Project challenges

Carbon fibers reclaimed by different routes exhibit different retention rates of mechanical properties with respect to virgin fibres. Pyrolysis may reach a retention of strength of 98-99%. However, the energy consumed is 2.6 times higher than mechanical methods and it needs a significant process optimization. As a whole, the pyrolysis process is acknowledged as the most viable and sustainable CFRP recycling process to achieve process and resource efficiency.

A challenge is represented by the optimization of the textile reprocessing technologies, aimed at obtaining continuous yarns from recovered discontinuous fibers, which is a key-aspect in DeremCo project.

The availability of rCF with high retention of mechanical properties and competitive costs can unlock the potential as secondary material. For example, the automotive market is driven by cost reduction strategies encompassing reduction of cycle time and material cost.

According to this the 5 Demo-cases are:

  • Injection molding of bathtubs for the production of automotive pump bracket
  • Injection molding of wind turbines for the production of shipbuilding boat battery cover
  • Hybrid yarn spinning and weaving of windturbines for the production of technical yarns and fabrics
  • Injection molding of aeronautic and wind turbines for the production of automotive components
  • Rolling of wind turbine for constructions

Other Pilots

DeremCo, as Investments project, will demonstrate the developed solutions with different cross-sectorial industrial use-cases. These have been classified according to the required processes into two different pilot strategies for unlocking the potential of End-of-Life composite materials as manufacturing sources.
PILOTS STRATEGY 1

Composite granule demanufacturing, hybrid reprocessing and re-use.

details
Composite granule demanufacturing, hybrid reprocessing and re-use.
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