Low-Temperature Composite Recycling Process
Small Business Information
9621 Camino del Sol, NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111
Abstract60770 Recycling of carbon fiber reinforced composites is an important task for the future development of this class of materials. Without recycling, the full potential of using composite materials in low-cost applications like automobile production, along with the resulting fuel economy, will not be realized. Recycling the composites will also have a huge ecological benefit by removing a whole class of materials from landfills. This project will develop a low-temperature, low-pressure recycling system based on catalytic degradation of the composite matrix in a heat transfer fluid. In Phase I, clean fibers were produced from two different classes of feedstock representing 90% of today¿s waste composite. The fiber properties met market requirements for direct reuse without further processing. Initial economic parameters showed a high degree of commercial feasibility. In Phase II, a pilot plant will be setup to produce clean fiber on a 100-pound scale while demonstrating all unit operations of a commercial-size plant. Additional feedstocks, expected for future automotive applications will be investigated to widen the applicability of the process and to examine possible problems associated with contaminants. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The recycling approach should allow a commercial operation to profitably remove a whole class of material from the wastestream for multiple life cycles, something that has not been accomplished for any polymer-based composite material. The economic data for the process are extremely promising; an internal rate of return of over 70% is projected.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.