Carbon recycling coming to the forefront in Europe

Boeing has pledged $1 million a year for at least three years to support carbon fiber recycling research and development at the University of Nottingham.


The University of Nottingham (Nottingham, U.K.) reported on Oct. 25 that The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash.) plans to invest $1 million (USD) per year in a strategic research partnership through which Boeing will collaborate with the university in its composites recycling activities. Sir Roger Bone, president of Boeing UK (London), said at the launch of the research effort that Boeing wants to be able to recycle composite materials from manufacturing operations to improve product sustainability and develop more efficient ways of recycling aircraft that have been retired from commercial service. “The ultimate aim is to insert recycled materials back into the manufacturing process, for instance, in nonstructural sustainable interiors applications, or in the tooling we use for manufacture,” Bone explained. “This work helps us create environmental solutions throughout the lifecycle of Boeing products.” The agreement formalizes a six-year working commitment between the University and Boeing that will include not only R&D activities in aircraft recycling, but also novel applications for power electronics.

Also in Europe, the European Composites Industry Assn. (EuCIA, Brussels, Belgium) on Nov. 4 launched the Recycling & Sustainability Platform of the European Composites Industry. The launch followed the General Assembly meeting of the European Composite Recycling Services Co. (ECRC, Brussels, Belgium), founded in 2003 by a number of composites-related companies, including Owens Corning Composite Materials (Toledo, Ohio), in response to the European Union Directive on end-of-life vehicles.

The Platform is a Sector Group organized under the EuCIA umbrella. Its members are actively involved in the manufacture of composites and are actively seeking ways to meet the demands of various industrial sectors that contribute to the competitiveness of the European Union and provide jobs.

The objective of the platform is to bring the composites industry together to assess composites recyclability, demonstrate recycling solutions for composites and communicate with one voice on the subject of sustainability. “Composites are recyclable and sustainable,” says Alisa De Backer, EuCIA general manager, noting that the superior performance properties and the green credentials of composites are sure to be a winning formula for Platform participants in the future. “Being a sustainable industry is a challenging process, but we aim to address it under the new Platform.” De Backer warned, however, that the initiative could not succeed without the full support of EU-based composites manufacturers. For that reason, EuCIA says the Platform is open to all players in the composites and composite-related value chain. The next meeting of the Platform will take place during first-quarter 2012.

For an introduction to the EuCIA Recycling & Sustainability Platform and/or information on membership, visit the Web site: