Bio-based recyclable, reshapable and repairable (3R) fibre-reinforced EpOXY composites for automotive and construction sectors.
The lightweight and excellent mechanical properties of thermoset fibre-reinforced composites (FRCs) make them attractive materials for demanding sectors, such as automotive or construction. However, they are challenging to reprocess and difficult to repair and recycle increases the overall material cost and environmental concerns. In addition, the vast majority of existing polymer matrices and fibres used in their manufacture rely on fossil-derived materials or use large amounts of energy.
ECOXY sets out to overcome these issues by involving the European bio-based industry in developing innovative bio-based epoxy resins and fibre reinforcements in developing innovative bio-based epoxy resins and fibre reinforcements. This will lead to sustainable and techno-economically competitive FRTCs, targeting advanced functionalities: reparability, reprocessability and recyclability (3R) using new resin formulations.
ECOxy has a series of technical, industrial, and economic objectives.
The technical objectives include analysing and defining the raw materials and technologies for composite manufacturing, repairing and recycling and demonstrator parts for the automotive and construction sectors. These include developing flax-reinforcements and polylactic acid (PLA) yarns; synthesising bio-based epoxy (macro)monomers; developing bio-based epoxy thermoset matrix with advanced functionalities and fibre-reinforced 3R composites at lab scale suitable for semi-structural and structural applications and optimising processing parameters to novel materials.
The industrial and include producing demonstrators. These include demo parts for the construction and automotive sectors will be manufactured. A window profile for construction will be manufactured by pultrusion, while a dashboard fascia and the rear seat back panel for automotive sector will be manufactured by resin transfer moulding (RTM) and/or wet compression moulding. These will be validated by end users.
The economic objectives include reducing costs along the life cycle of ECOXY components, compared with traditional petrochemical-based composites. These savings will be realised by reducing GHG emissions and energy use, reducing labour and waste costs, more efficient raw material costs in terms of the costs of reinforcement fibres, lower energy costs for manufacturing the target components, lower production costs and reparability.
The ECOXY project expects to deliver the following impacts:
- Improve the sustainability of FRCs by using bio-based raw materials for manufacturing of fibres and resins.
- Create advanced functionalities that existing traditional thermoset composites do not offer, overcoming existing limitations.
- Increase innovation capacity within project partners as well as gaining new knowledge and producing new products.
- Improve the competitiveness and sustainability of multiple European industrial sectors; initially the automotive and construction sectors.
- Allow the remanufacture of parts with significantly less energy thus reducing CO2 emissions.
- Prevent and/or reduce negative effects on the environment via natural and bio-based components that minimise landfill via 3R.
Project achievements & milestones
Developing reusable and recyclable bio-composites
18 March 2019
Due to their lightweight and mechanical properties, thermoset fibre-reinforced composites are ideal materials for use in demanding sectors, such as the automotive industry or construction. They are traditionally made from fossil raw materials but now our ECOXY project is developing bio-based thermoset fibre-reinforced composites that are repairable, reprocessable and recyclable. Read more