Neocomp: recycling glass-fibre-reinforced plastics

glass fibre image
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Technopolis Group

Neocomp is a company based in Bremen (Germany), specialised in providing professional disposal of glass-fibre-reinforced plastics.

They have developed a method for recycling glass fibre polymers used in the rotor blades of wind turbines. Until recently, there was no real way to dispose of these rotor blades, although it is easy to recycle the turbines' tower and nacelle which are made of concrete and steel. The blades are largely made of glass-fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP), which does not decompose in landfill sites. They cannot be burned either, as the fine fibres clog up incinerator filters.

Neocomp’s recycling plant has provided a solution. The centrepiece of the plant is a huge shredder, which gradually breaks down the glass fibre components until they are the size of shredded paper. They are then mixed with paper production residue generated when waste paper is recycled. The mixture is turned into a fine granulate that makes an ideal additive for cement production. A cement factory in Lägerdorf processes the ingredients sent from Bremen. In the cement, the GFRP mixture becomes part of a chemical compound, with no discernible residues – resulting in total recycling.

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Main results
  • Currently, Neocomp’s facility can process up to 30 000 tonnes of glass fibre each year. The company believes its plant is ready to keep up with increasing national demand in the coming years.
  • Neocomp received the 2017 GreenTec Award for its innovative work.