Thu, 04 May, 2023
A new website has been launched to support the Innovate UK-funded EMPHASIZING project.
The project, which is being led by lead partner Longworth with TWI joining fellow project partners Brunel Composites Centre: Brunel University London, EMS Chemie, Ford, Gen2Plank and Gestamp UK, is investigating the circularity of glass fibre composite materials.
The excellent material properties and lightweight performance of composite materials mean that they have found uses in a wide range of industries. The renewable energy sector, for example, uses over 2.5 million tonnes of composites each year alone.
Most of the £54.5 billion composites market is made up of glass reinforced plastic (GFRP), with estimates stating that 12-15 tonnes of GFRP is used for each MW of power that is produced. Over one million tonnes of GFRP is produced in each year in Europe alone, of which 70% is used by the construction, infrastructure and transport sectors. Added to this are plans to decommission 40,000-60,000 tonnes of composite wind blade material over the next two years, which adds to the quantities of GFRP waste.
With such a large amount of GFRP waste being created each year, there are real concerns over how this is disposed of and a need to recycle the valuable glass fibres cost-effectively and with minimal environmental impact to meet net zero ambitions.
Much of the global GFRP waste is going to landfill or being incinerated and the EMPHASIZING project is working to address this through the development of a viable value chain to recycle these waste materials for future use by the automotive sector.
The project consortium are assessing, processing and analysing materials from automotive, wind turbine and marine parts for recycling as part of a circular economy to fabricate new automotive parts from upcycled glass fibre materials.
The aim is to find several use cases for the upcycled materials to provide a low cost, sustainable and readily available source of composites for use in the automotive sector, which is increasingly looking to composites as an alternative to metallic parts.
You can keep up with the latest happenings with this innovative project at the recently-launched project website, here.
The Emphasizing project has received funding from Innovate UK under No 10035094