Skip to main content

Eco-innovation in Composites Recycling for a Resource-Efficient Circular Economy

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - R3FIBER (Eco-innovation in Composites Recycling for a Resource-Efficient Circular Economy)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2018-08-31

With an annual growth rate of more than 12% over the last few years and a global turnover of 2,5 billion euros, composites are increasingly present in our daily lives. The global demand for carbon fibre is expected to grow to 140,000 tonnes in 2020. Due to its mechanical properties, low weight and resistance, this material is used in many sectors. In contrast, there is no viable alternative to manage this material. When products manufactured with glass and/or carbon fibre reach the end of their useful life, they are stored in the landfill creating a global problem. R3FIBER is capable of recovering the glass and carbon fibers from composites. The innovation has a high economic impact on the composite industry and the society (reducing the volume of landfills and Co2 emissions). R3FIBER allows to reduce the costs of management and production of composites
A strategic Business Plan has been carried out within 6 months including the analysis of internal and external elements related to the company. The market study analysed the characteristics of the target sector, by measuring potential in the different sectors, entry barriers, main direct and indirect competitors and key aspects of differentiation to achieve a successful commercialization. The study shows a very powerful market in terms of volume and growth, with a strong need to solve the problem of waste management (economic and environmental) . Also the industrialization process and technical requirements have been analysed together with the main commercialization strategy. Finally, regulatory issues, LCA and IRP management analysis have been done. The result is the registration of a patent in direct PCT mode (pending acceptance).
TRC has developed high quality composites made from recycled carbon fibre from the wind blade. These composites retain about 80% of the initial properties. On the other hand, TRC has developed the first reinforced plastics with recycled fibre which multiplies by nine the stiffness and trebles the resistance of polypropylene and polyamide. The company has also manufactured the first recycled carbon fibre pieces produced using 3D technology. These advances are a real revolution in the composite industry, and innovation will also have an impact on the sectors that use these materials. The new circular management of composites will also have a triple social impact; the reduction landfill volume and emisions (4M CO2/TN) and the creation of hundreds of new jobs.