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Covestro: Recycling of polycarbonate composites - Bio-based News -

  • Production waste is a valuable raw material
  • Reprocessing on an industrial scale possible
  • Contribution to more sustainability and resource conservation
The recycled polycarbonate composite is blended with new polycarbonate – the light blue granules – to form new plastic products (the black granules in front) which are tested before being launched on the market. The black test specimens, on which mechanical properties such as tensile and flexural strength are measured, serve this purpose. © carboNXT®



The Maezio® brand of continuous fiber-reinforced polycarbonate composites (CFRTPs) developed by Covestro are characterized by their extremely light weight, very high strength and exceptional flexibility of design. This means that waste generated during the production of composites also becomes a valuable raw material. However, because they consist of different materials that cannot be easily separated from one another, the recycling of composites is a challenge. Covestro is cooperating with recycling specialist carboNXT® on this. It has developed a process that allows the waste to be processed on an industrial scale.

“We are very excited about this joint solution, as we cannot process the materials ourselves for technical reasons,” explains Lisa Ketelsen, Head of Thermoplastic Composites at Covestro. “By recycling according to type at our partner’s plant, the raw materials can be converted back into valuable products with similarly good properties as those characteristic of virgin materials. The recycling of materials makes it possible to use them again in other products. In this way, we save raw material resources and contribute to the focus on the circular economy.”

“Our company has many years of experience in recycling carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastics and has the necessary plant technologies to process such waste. We were therefore the partner of choice for this task,” says Tim Rademacker, general manager at Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials and responsible for the carbon fiber recycling business. “From the processed waste, we produce high-quality new compounds of carbon fiber-reinforced polycarbonate for Covestro at CarboNXT®.”

Demand for such recycled products is high because they are valuable raw materials, but also because more and more industrial customers and consumers are looking for more sustainable products. The project will now be further developed to market maturity by Covestro, Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials and possibly other partners. It is part of a global strategic program with which Covestro is focusing all its energy on the circular economy.

About CovestroWith 2020 sales of EUR 10.7 billion, Covestro is among the world’s leading polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative, sustainable solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. In doing so, Covestro is fully committed to the circular economy. The main industries served are the automotive and transportation industries, construction, furniture and wood processing, as well as electrical, electronics, and household appliances industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. At the end of 2020, Covestro has 33 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,500 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

About Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced MaterialsMitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials is a leading global manufacturer of high-performance thermoplastic materials in the form of semi-finished products and finished parts. The company has locations in 20 countries and more than 2 800 employees. Its specialty engineering thermoplastics and composites are superior in performance to metals and other materials and are used in a wide range of applications, primarily in the capital goods industry. The company is continuously developing new areas of applications in close cooperation with industry leaders in a broad variety of customer markets. The Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials Group is well prepared to further expand its market leadership position.

Supporting the vision of our holding company, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials is committed to the realization of KAITEKI, “a sustainable condition which is comfortable for people, society and the Earth”. To realize this vision, the MCHC Group engages in corporate activities that provide products, technologies and services based on the comprehensive capabilities of the Group in the Performance Products Domain, Industrial Materials Domain and Health Care Domain, with chemistry as the basis of our activities. We jointly express and promote our commitment under the corporate brand THE KAITEKI COMPANY.

Source: Covestro, press release, 2021-06-02.

Publication date: 09/06/2021

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This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2020-07-14