Recycling of Thermoplastic Composites: transforming waste into valuable material and applications

The Recycling of Thermoplastic Composites project is a collaboration between Brightlands Materials Center and the companies Polytec, PP Recycling, Smile Again, Alligator, Plastica, Kedu Polymers, VKB International, Verbi, KS Consulting and ENBI Plastics. The project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the provinces of Limburg and Zeeland under the OPZuid program. Name of the project: Proeftuin Recycling Thermoplastische Composieten: “Van afval naar hoogwaardig materiaalgebruik.

Thermoplastic composites are often used in applications where lightweighting is important. They provide a higher mechanical strength to weight ratio than metals do. Applications are thus often found in mobility sectors like automotive and aerospace. As such, thermoplastic composites contribute to reducing fuel use, energy consumption and emissions. However, the global challenge to a more sustainable and circular economy also requires that the mobility industry provides an end of life solution to automotive vehicles and airplanes. Legislation is getting stricter and enforces the mobility industry to recycle more and, in addition, use more recycled materials. Brightlands Materials Center initiated this project to develop a recycling technology that specifically retains the good properties of thermoplastic composites during the recycling process.

A thermo-mechanical recycling pilot process facility has been set up at our facilities on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. We focus on improving the properties and thus the value of the recycled materials. The consortium of the partners covers the entire chain of development of recycled thermoplastic composites parts. Via collection, separation, size reduction, compounding, granulation and design new use cases are being developed and tested.

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