ReCoVeR: Regenerating the value and performance of glass fibres thermally recycled from end-of-life and waste GRP

Thomason, Jim and Yang, L. and Jenkins, P. and Sáez, E. and Nagel, U. (2016) ReCoVeR: Regenerating the value and performance of glass fibres thermally recycled from end-of-life and waste GRP. In: 2nd International Composites Congress, 2010-11-28 - 2016-11-29, CCD Congress Center. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    The recovery and reuse of end-of-life GRP in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective manner is one of the most important challenges facing the composites industry. In 2015 the global consumption of reinforcement grade E-glass fibre (GF) exceeded 5 million tons. Associated with this global GF consumption is the production of 0.5-1 million tons of GF manufacturing waste most of which is landfilled. Furthermore, approximately 70% of reinforcement GF is used to manufacture thermoset based composites (GRP) which also produces approximately 15% manufacturing waste. Consequently it can be shown that there is actually sufficient GF available in current manufacturing waste and end-of-life GRP to meet approximately 50% of the global demand for GF reinforcements. However, such GF and GRP materials (both end-of-life and manufacturing waste) are difficult to recycle in an efficient manner and have historically also been disposed of in landfills. Such landfilling is rapidly becoming untenable due to legislative and landfill pricing developments. A number of processes for recycling GRP are available or under development. However, nearly all options deliver recycled glass fibres (RGF) which are not cost-performance competitive due to the huge drop in performance of RGF compared to its original state. A breakthrough in the regeneration of RGF performance has the potential to totally transform the economics of recycling GRP waste and end-of-life composites. This presentation will review the status of the ReCoVeR project which is focussed on enabling cost-effective regeneration of the performance and value of glass fibres obtained from thermal recycling of end-of-life GRP and GRP manufacturing waste. Highlights of our latest results will be presented with emphasis on our breakthrough treatments to regenerate the properties of thermally recycled glass fibres. The ReCoVeR treatments are currently being patented and the authors are actively seeking innovative partners to form a consortium to move this technology towards a commercial reality