22 September 2022
by Alex Brinded

New dawn for carbon fibre

The National Composites Centre (NCC), UK, is launching a three-year programme to scale up the industrial recycling of continuous carbon fibre in the UK.

Wind turbine with sunrise on horizon
© Jason Blackeye / unsplash

The initiative aims to industrialise continuous carbon fibre reclamation and fast-track a second life UK materials market.

A team of composite specialists will refine and scale the industrial processes needed to establish a commercial market for this reclaimed material.

The NCC says that global demand for virgin carbon fibre is set to exceed supply by 2025, and so a well-established second-life market could ease supply chains.

Although chopped carbon fibre is currently recycled, industrial appliactions are narrow.

This follows a succesful trial with partners where the NCC tested processes to reclaim and reuse continous lengths that retain a higher material performance.

The hope is to accelerate the creation of three different carbon fibre grades - A,B and C - to support a wider range of applications and reduce the volume of continuous carbon fibre reinforced polymer sent to UK landfill by 50% in 2026.

With carbon fibre being key to make aircraft, electric vehicles, hyrogen storage tanks, and super-sized turbine blades, the NCC says that global demand is set to triple to 300,000Mt by 2030 - with such a shortage set to have an impact on net-zero goals for many sectors.


Alex Brinded

Staff Writer