Composite Recycling: Closing the loop on boat...
Composite Recycling

Closing the loop on boats made of GFRP

(Source: Composites Recycling)
(Source: Composites Recycling)

Every year in Europe, 60,000-120,000 boats can no longer be used on the water. Of these, only 2,000 are recycled, while another 6,000-9,000 are scrapped in a variety of ways. Most boats are made of fiberglass - glass fiber reinforced polymer/plastic (GFRP). It is a lightweight, stiff and durable consisting of glass fibers coated with a tough resin. Today nearly 10 million tons of this composite material are produced annually across marine, aerospace, automotive, and many other industries. Since the late 1960s, 95% of boats with hulls of up to 30 m long have been manufactured from this material.

In recent years, scientists have successfully separated small quantities of GFRP into its component elements using a little-known process called pyrolysis. However, no profitable, industrial-scale solution has been identified to reclaim the components such that they are reusable.
With environmental awareness growing and no means of recycling available, players including boat manufacturers, harbors and governments find themselves under increasing pressure to find a solution.
The start-up company Composite Recycling, Ecublens/Switzerland, has developed a proprietary approach to reclaim the fibers largely intact, maintaining most of their structural and functional properties, and on an industrial scale – finally making composites recycling a reality.
(Source: Composites Recycling)
(Source: Composites Recycling)
The loop on GFRP by recycling composites into reusable components can be closed:
• the proprietary pyrolysis process reclaims the fibers largely intact from the resin – which is transformed into pyrolysis oil.
• the post-treatment process restores the reclaimed fibers to near-original appearance and functional properties.
• the reclaimed fibers and pyrolysis oil can then be reused in the manufacturing of new composites.
• the approach is energy efficient and with low emissions.
Composite Recycling will deploy small pyrolysis reactors that fit in 20 ft. (6.1 m) containers and can be easily dispatched for treatment of fiberglass waste on-site.

(Source: Composites Recycling)
(Source: Composites Recycling)
During the JEC Forum DACH in Augsburg/Germany, on November 29-30, 2022, Composite Recycling was designated as the winner of the JEC Composites Startup Booster.

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