1st REPOXYBLE workshop

1st Open Innovation Workshop

Processes and methods for recycling, reuse, and recovery of advanced composite materials in the transport sector

7th June 2024 (9:30-11:30)

Rue du Trône, 62, Brussels / online

 

Interested in advanced composite recycling in the transport sector?

REPOXYBLE first Open Innovation Workshop addressed this topic sharing insights with experts in chemical systems, novel technologies, production techniques toward recycling and recovery of high-value composite constituents, with a focus on automotive, aerospace, marine and infrastructures applications.

In this framework, REPOXYBLE was presented alongside five other European projects: FURHYr-LightBioComFORESTEuReComp, and Carbo4Power.

 

Agenda

Fiber-reinforced composites are amongst the enabling materials for the green and digital transitions in the transport and mobility sector. They allow for lightweighting, purpose-built functions, and high performances even in extreme applications. However, their overall safety and sustainability profile still suffers from potential negative impacts mainly related to manufacturing, and the end-of-life dimensions.

Research is on-going to develop more sustainable solutions, introducing biobased components, developing more efficient processes, exploring reuse and recycle solutions.

REPOXYBLE and several other European projects in the field are exploring and addressing key research questions to progress in developing more sustainable composites, including:

  • What are the most relevant factors to reduce the overall environmental footprint?
  • Can the recovery of high-value constituents be considered a real breakthrough in improving circularity of composite materials?
  • Which would be the main trade-offs in moving from lab scale to industrial scale in recycling?
  • How could the reversibility of the matrix affect material performances?
  • How to integrate the different aspects in a comprehensive and effective Safe & Sustainable by Design (SSbD)  framework?
  • How to make the recovery of high-value constituents of composites a viable market?

 

Watch the workshop recording

 

Highlights

The state of the art regarding composites recycling see the prominence of mechanical and thermal recycling (Technology Readiness Level ≥9) and chemical recycling (TRL ~ 6). Mechanical recycling are the most advanced and commercially available, but their use is still limited compared to the overall amount of composites produced and disposed at their End of Life. Mechanical and thermal recycling allow for high throughput and have well-established markets for their products, but they do not allow to recover each constituent from the composites nor do they preserve the quality of the pristine material.

Chemical recycling is a valuable alternative when the primary interest is to recover each and every material constituent separately while preserving their properties. However, it may also imply the use of hazardous substances, and a market for recycled products is not yet well established.

To develop sustainable and circular composites, there are two main approaches: develop new or optimized ways to reuse, repair, and recycle existing materials, or develop completely new materials considering circularity approaches as well as SSbD. A mixed approach can be implemented depending on type of material and value chain.

Which barriers and opportunities does this sector has to face? Sustainability of composites should address the principle of cost effectiveness, keeping in mind that the quality of the materials retrieved determines the possibilities of application. However, connecting different value chains and their requirements is always a big challenge.

As it is apply a closed loop recycling for composites: we are not yet able to keep high-quality retrieved constituents in the loop for durable time, while ensuring a sustainable and energy cost-effective approach. Chemical recycling is currently the most promising way to achieve this closed loop, at least on the lab scale, but it may also imply the use of hazardous substances.

A good news is that there is space for secondary composites applications: in terms of demand and value of the market, the most interesting applications are automotive, building and constructions, aerospace, energy and sport equipment.

So, looking to near future, the economic aspect is the most important one, while the great circularity challenge is to recover materials in the same conditions they have been produced. And since chemical recycling is not the state of the art for fibre reinforced composites, a great effort is currently ongoing in research to optimize it. Recycling, performance and costs have been set as the top three key priorities to address sustainability of composites by the EU research projects currently working on this.

Do you want to know more?

Read the extended version of our highlights

 

Download the slides

All the presentations

  • Introduction from the chairs
    Elvira Villaro, Avanzare Innovacion Tecnologica and REPOXYBLE coordinator
    Andrea Porcari, Italian Association for Industrial Research (Airi)
  • Recycling of composite and epoxy materials
    Christoph Olscher, Universityof Natural Resources and Life Sciences of Vienna (BOKU)
    Presentation
  • Bio-based and recyclable composite materials for transport application
    Luigia Longo, CETMA & FURHY
    Presentation
  • r-LightBioCom Circularity and Recyclability Innovations
    Fernando Cepero Mejias, Coventry University & r-LightBioCom
    Presentation
  • Advanced lightweight materials FOR Energy-efficient STructures
    Rocío Ruiz Gallardo, AIMPLAS & FOREST
    Presentation
  • EURECOMP- European recycling and circularity in large composites components
    Dionisis Semitekolos, National Technical University of Athens – R-NanoLab & EuReComp
    Presentation
  • Carbo4Power – New generation of offshore turbine blades with intelligent architectures of hybrid, nano-enabled multi-materials via advanced manufacturing
    Tatjana Kosanovic Milickovic, National Technical University of Athens – R-NanoLab & Carbo4Power
    Presentation

 

See also