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Partners target ‘new class’ of aircraft waste

ELG Carbon Fibre and Aerocircular NV have joined forces to establish a closed-loop recycling scheme for end-of-life aircraft carbon fibre waste streams.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to demonstrate their mutual commitment towards this initiative.

‘Today, composite carbon fibre fractions are typically shredded and burned or landfilled,’ says Koen Staut, ceo of Aerocircular, based in Belgium. The collaboration with ELG will realise a ‘robust’ and economically viable recycling flow on an industrial scale.

Every tonne of carbon fibre from the aircraft that is transformed into new material saves 20 tonnes of global warming potential CO2 equivalent with only 10% of the energy required to produce virgin carbon fibre.

ELG’s managing director Frazer Barnes is confident this new class of recycled materials delivers technical, economical as well as environmental benefits. ‘By working with Aerocircular and expanding our activities into post-consumer waste from end-of-life aircraft, we are preparing to address the challenge that will be faced when carbon fibre intensive structures reach the end of their lives,’ he notes.

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Barnes explains: ‘We use a patented furnace process called continuous pyrolysis to convert the reclaimed fibres. This involves the thermal removal of resins in a controlled environment at temperatures in the range of 400-650°C.’

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