NCC Launches New Initiative to Develop Sustainable Composite Material
A new initiative is launched to develop the next generation of sustainable composite materials and bring together the UK’s composites expertise to quickly turn research breakthroughs into industrial applications.
Led by the National Composites Centre (NCC) and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) – two of the seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult centers – Sustainable Composites is a partnership between industry, academia and government that will harness the UK’s world-leading composites research and technology development capabilities to capitalize on this rapidly growing circ. £2bn global market for end-of-life recycling.
The UK Undersecretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Minister for Business and Industry), Nadhim Zahawi MP, announced the initiative at the University of Bristol’s virtual Sustainability Summit 2020.
Addressing the Recycling Challenges
Sustainable Composites is set to address the recycling challenges by accelerating the development of new recycling technologies in the UK while simultaneously creating new sustainable composites made from bio-based materials including vegetable waste, corn, nutshells and algae.
Launching Sustainable Composites, Nadhim Zahawi MP said “As home to some of the world’s leading researchers and pioneering research and development facilities, the UK has a fantastic opportunity to create value from waste across a whole range of sectors.
The important initiative we’re launching today will help develop light, durable and recyclable composite materials - not only saving vast amounts of energy but opening up new opportunities for some of our most critical industries.”
New Technology and Projects
The UK is already leading in ground-breaking technologies for composites recycling. The NCC, based in Bristol, has developed a new technology with Oxford Brookes University, which separates (or disbonds) composite structures quickly and cheaply using a simple heat source. CPI worked with Fibreright to develop a novel method to generate sustainable added value products from municipal solid waste. Additionally, ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd, based in the West Midlands, UK, is the world’s first commercial recycler of carbon fiber composites.
The “Steam to Value Stream” project is investigating how an innovative steam process developed and patented by B&M Longworth, an SME based in Blackburn, UK, can be used for reclaiming resin and fibers from a composite component. The team will then explore how these materials can be used in the HiPerDiF technology developed at the University of Bristol – a novel fibre realignment process that takes discontinuous short fibers and aligns them into ready-to-lay composite tapes to be used in aerospace, automotive and wind turbine manufacturing.
The “Bio-Bolster” project will explore bio-derived resins for high volume manufacturing applications, and includes developing an understanding of supply chains, design requirements and performance characteristics to produce a novel material with less impact on the environment.