The use of carbon fiber (CF) based composites is of growing importance in many industrial applications with the current global market estimated at $28Bn [ref 9]. However, the current high cost, limited production capability in Europe and the use of petroleum-based polyacrylonitrile (PAN) as the precursor fiber (PF) from which the CF is ultimately derived, requires the development of innovative routes to industrial production. To achieve this, novel processes are needed which can utilise sustainable precursor materials to produce CF of adequate quality, reduce energy consumption during manufacture and make CF widely available and affordable across a range of different European industrial sectors. The aim of LIBRE is to use lignin rich side streams in order to develop a more resource-efficient and sustainable carbon fiber production, based on biopolymers for PF production and energy efficient processing technologies for conversion of PF to CF which will have performance levels matching or bettering current industrial standards.
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