Date of Release 21.06.2022
GREENBOATS, Swiss-CMT, and Leibniz Institute for Composite Materials develop unidirectional textile made from recycled carbon fibre
In cooperation with a consortium of science and industry, the Bremen-based company is developing a process for reusing carbon cuttings.
- Sustainable alternative to virgin carbon fibres
- Reuse of carbon fibre waste
- Significantly lower resin absorption than other recycling products
- Suitable for aligning reinforcements exactly in the direction of the force paths
Bremen (Germany), Bio-based natural fibres are the core business of GREENBOATS. The innovative Bremen-based company has already manufactured entire sailing yachts, cabins for wind turbines, or parts for the aerospace industry from flax and other natural materials. But the recycling of materials of fossil origin has always been on the agenda. „There are areas of application where carbon fibres are simply vastly superior to other materials,“ says Paul Riesen, the company’s head of Research & Development.
That is why it was very important to the company to find ways to recycle the waste products from the carbon fibre processing industry. The black high-tech thread is produced using a lot of energy, so it only makes sense to process the material that has already been produced in the best possible way. The special feature of the process, which GREENBOATS developed as part of the Eurostars project MarineCare of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research together with the Leibniz Institute for Composite Materials (IVW) and Swiss CMT AG, is the use of recovered fibres as a unidirectional semi-finished product. So far, carbon fibres from non-woven fabrics with lower mechanical properties and significantly higher resin absorption have been reused. Thanks to the close cooperation of the project with external partners, Wagenfeld Spinnereien GmbH and Tissa Glasweberei AG, it has now been possible to produce a unidirectional semi-finished product from the residual materials, which is perfectly suited to reinforcing components exactly along the force paths.
It is very important for the project partners to come up with a solution that allows for easy processing. Paul Riesen explains that the recycled textile is very easy to cut and drape and is suitable for a wide variety of processing methods. Vacuum infusion, pressing processes, hand lamination, and prepreg are possible. Marcel Schubiger, Swiss CMT AG, adds that in the MarineCare Project, a special prepreg, that has been impregnated with the newly developed bio-based solid resin, is being used. „The PrePreg, which can be stored without refrigeration, only contains as much resin as is really necessary and requires a minimum of auxiliary materials, which increases the ecological balance again and greatly reduces the CO2 footprint.“ Jan Janzen, research associate at the IVW
The new process also optimizes the reuse of the primary carbon fibres and thus reduces the use of virgin materials.
GREENBOATS is specialized in the development and manufacturing of sustainable lightweight components, with a focus on natural fibre reinforced composites (NFC). The materials used consist of renewable and/or recycled raw materials. In combination with different sandwich cores, e.g. made of cork or recycled PET, high-performance materials are created which, depending on the material combination, can also have, for example, heat-insulating and vibration-absorbing properties.
Since it was founded in 2013 by master boat builder Friedrich Deimann, GREENBOATS has been producing prototypes and small series on behalf of customers. Supported by Jan Paul Schirmer, GREENBOATS has been transformed from a workshop into a technology company. The team now consists of around 20 employees. In addition to the production of components for customers such as the high-performance sailor Boris Herrmann, the operational focus is now increasingly on the development of scalable semi-finished products, such as our own fibre fabrics, but also sandwich panels, that lower the barriers for other companies to integrate the material inherent advantages to their respective value chains.
Due to years of research and experience and the resulting Pioneering position in the NFC scene, GREENBOATS is increasingly also advising other companies actively and accompanying them on their way to a more sustainable economy.
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The project MarineCare – sustainable composite materials made of recycled carbon fibres and bio-based powder resin for maritime applications“ is carried out as part of the European funding program „Eurostars“ and the German partners are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (funding code 01QE2028C).
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