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Ecological Low Impact Production Sport Elastomer

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Eclipse (Ecological Low Impact Production Sport Elastomer)

Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2017-02-28

The rubber obtained from tyre recycling is a raw material used in various sectors in a wide array of applications among which the most prominent and import market is the sport's one where it is being used as infill material of artificial turf to give elasticity. This infill material made from polyurethane coated rubber granulate SBR present several drawbacks in terms of performance, environment and health: rigidity of the polyurethane coating, polyurethane dust dispersion in the air ( harmful dispersion in the environment of the polyurethane’s fine dust that is about 2-3% in weight) due to the friction with shoes and subsequent risk of inhalation. Considering that the infill material necessary for one field is about 100 Ton, during its life span about 2-3 tons of dust are dispersed in the water and in the air.

500 thousand tons of recycled tires end up every year in the European football fields. The Synthetic Turf Council estimates that the market for artificial turf is already over 500 million € per year, and is growing very quickly. Considering the large variety of different features and customer requirements for artificial field (infill material, turf fibres and turf height) and the potential needs of including, other than the substratum, a primary and/or secondary backing to install the turf, a draining system, and some fencing, the infill material may impact between 20% and 70% the artificial turf final cost, describing a market able to demand every year between 100M€ and 350M€ for the infill materials, whereas the volume of the global market for artificial turf and children playgrounds will increase by an average of approximately 15% annually, in the coming years.

Eclipse aims to introduce a new generation of coated recycled rubber granulates for infill material with better elasticity performance, which is also greener, healthier and more sustainable than the current in use. The product will offer higher quality, better performance, and a better value for money when compared to its direct competitor materials, namely the recycled black SBR, EPDM and green coated SBR, being 50-60% cheaper, more sustainable (10% virgin rubber/90% recycled rubber) and less polluting (Production CO2 emissions are 3 to 16 times lower than competitors producition process).

Eclipse project is worth to invest to increase people awareness on the environmental impact of rubber recycle and sustainability, helping to expand the artificial turf market size providing a solution that meets the needs of the infill materials industry and bringing many benefits for health and environment such as water savings (up to 9.25 billion litres of water saved in North America as of 2013), reduction in noxious emission from lawn mowers (1 hour usage of a push mower is equivalent to 11 cars, while 1 hour usage of a riding mower is equivalent to 34 cars) and municipal solid waste (the third largest component of municipal solid waste for landfills according to the Environmental Protection Agency EPA), keeping more than 105 million used tyres out of landfills, and eliminating the need for nearly 80 million pounds of harmful pesticides, weed-killers and fertilizers (by-products of the insecticide chlorpyrifos were found in 93% of urine samples from children ages 3 to 13) which are usually applied to “natural” turf every year.
Tehcnical Feasibilty Study:

1) We have drafted a list of components and activities needed for the industrialisation of the technical aspects of the Eclipse development process: engineering of the protytpe plant and the production scale-up, validation and standardisation of the product.

2) We have profield and indentified the external expertise needed to accomplish the eclipse product development

3) We have highlighted Eclipse value propositions over competitive best-in-class alternatives

4) The plan to bring Eclipse product to TRL9 has been defined, and the cost analysis has been refined in order to meet market demand. An analysis of the industrial process and production plant required to meet the expected sales production plan has been assessed.

Market Feasibility Study:

1) We have identified the key industrial and commercial players which will collaborate for the Eclipse introduction in the sport artificial turf market.

2) We have interacted with target clients and stakeholders to evaluate user preferences, willingness to pay and product acceptance in order to demonstrate the commercial validity of Eclipse.

3) We have expanded our initial market research by focusing our attention on the primary market segments for Eclipse market introduction

4) We have scheduled to submit a new patent to protect the Eclipse industrial process

5) We have updated the Business Innovation plan, by including a 5 year finacial plan and a proper commercialization and dissemination strategy for the EU market and the US market
Eclipse is an innovative infill material for artificial turfs for sports and playground areas surfaces.
This new generation of coated recycled rubber granulates features performance, sustainability, carbon footprint and value for money which are at least as good as best-in class alternative solutions such as EDPM and Polyurethane (PU) coated SBR. Owing to the combined use of high quality recycled rubber, latex and a low CO2 emission's coating process and compounds, sustainability and carbon footprint are at least 50% better than EDPM and PU. Also durability and lifespan also proved to be 30% better than competitors infill under TGA test as recommended by FIFA.

Eclipse has the potential to disrupt the artificial turf market, especially the sport's one . We have identified our primary target market, to be reached in the short-term period, with the full size and mini size (30X20 metres) outdoor/indoor artificial turfs for professional soccer, managed by FIFA, in Europe, a market size of 8.8 M€. EMEA region market, out mid-term period target, has a potential value of more than 11M€, while the US, long-term target market size is around 5M€.
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