Huntsman to develop EoL recycling solutions

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Huntsman and V-Carbon Technologies are combining their resources to develop end of life (EoL) recycling solutions for carbon fibre composites.

According to Huntsman, aviation, transportation, and energy sectors simply could not deliver the 30+% fuel and energy efficiencies without the use of these strong and lightweight composites. While these achievements are significant, there is one area where efforts to improve the sustainability of products has lagged behind – recyclability.

A commitment to a carbon dioxide-neutral economy requires a sustainable approach to carbon fibre composite recycling, one that can address the waste volumes being produced by the composite industry and EoL volumes that are building annually with limited options other than disposing of in landfills or incineration.

Huntsman and V-Carbon will target the recovery or recycling of both the fibre and the resin and chemical components.

V-Carbon has developed its carbon fibre circular economy for use in the aerospace, automotive, wind energy and industrial sectors. An integrated process chain has been developed to deliver advanced materials systems using high performance second life carbon fibres. V-Carbon’s approach addresses the whole process chain from fibre to formulated products. Recovered carbon fibre material systems retain their mechanical performance for applications across the relevant market segments and are integrated into existing manufacturing platforms.

The V-Carbon technology is based on a patented chemolysis process that is claimed to deliver a 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.

Klaus Ritter, technology intelligence manager at Huntsman’s Advanced Materials division, said: “With our extensive experience in developing and manufacturing chemical products, we are well-matched to work with V-Carbon to analyse the resin recyclate that results from their chemolysis process. By studying the output of the recycling process, we can identify new uses for the material, which helps solve the current end of life issue with high performance composite materials.”

Huntsman and V-Carbon will develop and optimise the recovery of chemicals present in the chemolysis recyclate and offer sustainable uses for the recycled materials.

V-Carbon founder Damian J. Cessario said: “Working with Huntsman allows us to provide even more value to our customers and to society as a whole. We were already successful in producing carbon fibre yarn from our process. Our collaboration with Huntsman opens up additional opportunities for circularity in manufacturing by identifying sustainable solutions for the entire carbon fibre composite material.”