Designing reverse supply networks for carbon fibres : enabling cross-sectoral circular economy pathways

Trivyza, Nikoletta L. and Rentizelas, Athanasios and Oswald, Sarah and Siegl, Stefan (2022) Designing reverse supply networks for carbon fibres : enabling cross-sectoral circular economy pathways. Journal of Cleaner Production, 372. 133599. ISSN 0959-6526 (

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Carbon fibre reinforced polymer is a widely used material in engineering applications and is expected to be extensively used in the transportation sector due to its light-weight properties. It is a high value, energy intensive material, which is mostly landfilled at its End-of-life, however, it could potentially be recycled and replace virgin material in different sectors. Therefore, considering also the significant amounts of End-of-life aircrafts and automotive expected in the future, it is imperative to identify circular economy pathways for this waste stream. This study investigates the feasibility of a cross-sectoral circular economy pathway of carbon fibre material waste thermal recycling and proposes a four-tier reverse supply chain network for the waste in the aeronautic and automotive sector. A novel MILP optimisation model is developed, in order to optimise the network structure and minimise the costs of the proposed design problem with an end-to-end scope. The model is applied in the geographical context of Europe, for 2023 and 2050. The results indicate that the optimum reverse supply chain network design is relatively centralised with processing facilities in central Europe. The proposed circular economy pathway is economically viable; however, the process is even more attractive when the resin is recycled too.


Trivyza, Nikoletta L. ORCID logoORCID:, Rentizelas, Athanasios, Oswald, Sarah and Siegl, Stefan;