The main ambition of the RECREATE project is to develop a set of innovative technologies aimed at exploiting the circularity potential of End-of-Life (EoL) complex composite waste (mainly carbon fibre reinforced composites CFRC and glass fibre reinforced composites GFRC) as a feedstock for profitable reuse of parts and materials in the manufacturing industry.
RECREATE key challenge and greatest opportunity is the reduction of cost of fibers in the composites market. The reduction in the cost of fibers is expected to decrease the cost of composites, thereby driving a wider penetration of fiber composites in various applications, especially in the e-mobility sector. At the same time, issues related to recycling present the greatest challenge for composites manufacturers. The complex material compositions and the crosslinked nature of composites, especially thermoset composites, make the recyclability of composites difficult. Most of the composites used are disposed of in landfills, or incinerated. As a consequence, by enhancing the greatest market opportunity, i.e. making lower cost reusable materials available in traceable and certified way, and by limiting the market threats, i.e. demonstrating viable demand-driven solutions for circular business cases, RECREATE is meant to deliver core change to the composite industry.
There are five main components of RECREATE project:
Component 1: Propose innovative dismantling and sorting systems enabling reuse and functional recycling of complex composite materials;
Component 2: Develop and integrate novel solutions for higher reuse of the whole products and components;
Component 3: Demonstrate at pilot level the feasibility of reuse and/or recycle approaches of composites and its secondary raw materials;
Component 4: Develop tools that will enable to demonstrate the circularity and the environmental benefits of the solutions tested;
Component 5: Consider the co-design of learning resources together with local and regional educational organizations for current and future generations of employees.
– Development and validation of innovative, laser-based technologies for dismantling, recognition and sorting, including: Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy – LIBS and laser-shock dismantling and repair in a relevant environment (TRL6).
– Development and adoption of different technological approaches for the remanufacturing and reuse of large composite components: T-assisted reshaping; laser-based machining; design for disassembly based on reversible joints; non-destructive disassembly/reassembly of complex composite parts alongside AI-assisted decision support systems.
– Development of four physical demonstrators based on the reuse of glass and carbon fibre reinforced composites end-of-life parts after reshaping, repair and reversible assembly technologies and five physical demonstrators based on the use of innovative upcycling technologies for recovery and reuse of high quality, integer, clean fibres and of an organic (polymer) resin fraction reusable as coating material.
-Development and implementation of digital tools (IoT, big data, data analytics) to assess the circularity of the proposed technologies and their environmental and economic performance.
– Development of innovative digital learning resources and tools, including the realisation of MOOCs and serious games with the main local education stakeholders.
The objectives and the ambition of RECREATE are fully compliant with the general requirements of the Horizon Europe – Digital, Industry and Space 2021 Work Programme, and with the specific requirements of the call Horizon-CL4-2021-Resilience-01-01.
As the demand for both composites and high-performance fibre materials (especially carbon) at affordable costs is foreseen to grow steadily in the next few years in EU, driven by progressive banning of landfilling of composite waste and growing needs in many manufacturing sectors; it is therefore crucial that new technological alternatives are identified, so to allow the recovery and reuse of materials and components in an environmental and economically sustainable way. It aims to support 21 partners in this goal and initiative. RECREATE directly affects through its demonstrators 70% of the composite consumption sectors (EU Composite industry market size 16B€ in 2019, growing at 8.8% worldwide in terms of CAGR from 2021-2025), 26 i.e. transportation (14% in value, 27 EDAG), wind energy (14%, RES-T), aerospace (15%, Invent, Geven), consumer goods (24%, Head). Moreover, in terms of geographical distribution of composite use in manufacturing, the RECREATE covers 90% of the European market distribution. Therefore, there is a massive potential for replication and multiplication of the RECREATE solution at a world-wide scale.
Academic partners and research organizations: Tampere University; Politecnico di Milano; Fraunhofer IWU and WKI; Icam Quest; University of Patras; Gaiker; and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
Technology providers: Invent; Iris Technology Solutions; Rescoll; and Grifo Multimedia.
Post-use products managers and recyclers: Cobat and Carbon Clean-Up.
End users: Res-T; Benasedo; HEAD Sport; Geven; and EDAG Engineering.
Public awareness, Dissemination and Exploitation Associations: APRA Europe; AVK; and Giacomelli Media.
1. Wind energy industry;
- Aeronautics industry;
3. Automotive industry;
4. Transportation industry;
5. Aviation industry;
- Consumer goods (sport) industry;
- Industrial coatings industry.
European SMEs (end-users and technology providers), composite component manufacturers, composite material suppliers, resin suppliers, SME in the B2C context, designers, cross-sectoral business facilitators (clusters), public and legislation bodies and manufacturing companies in strategic EU sectors.
Economic: Demonstration of new cross–sectorial business cases for re-using glass and carbon fibers and resins in high added value products would produce around 0.203 BEu cost savings in the considered, conservative business scenario by 2030, related to reduced cost of fibers (glass: -40%; carbon: -70% with respect to virgin) with in specification characteristics and remanufacturing and re-use of composite structures.
Economic benefit of 95,526,000€/year in the wind energy industry, an increase of value added for the aerospace industry of 80,136,000€/year and reduction of material cost of about 41,895,000€/year in the automotive industry by 2030.
Societal: More knowledge intensive jobs in the targeted industries ( more than 4,149 by 2030) due to new circular economy operations.
Environmental: Minimization of landfilling and downcycling of composite materials with savings of 51.3kTons of waste composites per year, 2.64 TWh/year of energy and 1555 kTons CO2 /year in the considered scenario.
Scientific: New breakthroughs and multi-disciplinary scientific results on a wide range of topics including Digital Tools and Green Technologies for a new vision of demand-driven Circular Economy.