A commitment to a CO2-neutral economy requires a sustainable approach to carbon fibre composites recycling, one that can address the waste volumes being produced by the composites industry and the end-of-life (EOL) volumes that are building annually with limited options other than disposing in landfills or incineration.
Known for enriching lives through innovation with material solutions that meet customers’ most demanding needs, Huntsman is actively pursuing solutions to solve the composites recycling challenge. While several companies are currently active in finding industrial and economically viable solutions for recycling reinforcement fibers with a focus on carbon fibre, very few, if any, are looking at recycling the entire composites, including the fibre and the resin or its chemical components.
Experts in Huntsman’s Advanced Materials division approached several recycling companies to propose collaboration efforts targeting the recovery or recycling of both the fibre and the resin and chemical components. They found an ally in V-Carbon Technologies, a UK-based advanced materials technology company.
V-Carbon has developed the first fully integrated carbon fibre (CF) circular economy for use in the aerospace, automotive, wind energy, and industrial sectors. A highly innovative and integrated process chain has been developed to deliver advanced materials systems using high performance second life carbon fibres. V-Carbon’s technology driven approach is disruptive; it addresses the whole process chain from fibre to formulated products. Impressively, recovered carbon fiber material systems retain their mechanical performance for high performance, high value applications across the relevant market segments and are easily integrated into existing manufacturing platforms.
The V-Carbon technology is based on a patented “chemolysis” process that is able to deliver a complete circular economy with no waste where the carbon fibre as well as the chemical resins obtained at the end of the recycling process provides the opportunity for repurposing.
Huntsman brings its chemical expertise with its extensive experience in developing and manufacturing chemical products, is well-matched to work with V-Carbon to analyze the resin recyclate that results from their chemolysis process, says Manager for Huntsman’s Advanced Materials division.
Huntsman and V-Carbon have agreed to join their efforts to develop and optimize the recovery of the chemicals present in the “chemolysis recyclate,” which has previously not been possible, and offer sustainable uses for the recycled materials.