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EROS project - exploring new ways to tackle the difficult process of recycling lightweight composite materials widely

The transport industry is currently the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by the electric power industry. It is therefore necessary to use lighter structures such as composite materials to help reduce these emissions. However, using these materials involves the intrinsic challenge of waste management, given that recycling them is very complex. To understand the size of the problem, consider this: it is estimated that ten thousand aircraft will be withdrawn from service around the world in the next twenty years, and half of Europe’s installed 146 GW wind turbine capacity will be twenty years old by 2030.

In order to address this issue, AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, and ITC, the Institute of Ceramic Technology, are developing the EROS Project, which aims to implement a real circular economy system by recycling wind turbine blades and waste from the aeronautics sector and recovering them so they can be returned to the production process and used in transport and other sectors, such as the ceramics industry.

Mechanical and chemical recycling processes such as solvolysis and pyrolysis will yield three new products: glass fibre, carbon fibre and glycols. Glass fibre will be applied in the form of ceramic supports, frits and glazes to reduce the tile firing temperature. Inks will be manufactured with the glycols, and carbon fibre will be used to make sustainable composites for the transport sector.

The companies RECICLALIA, KERABEN, FRITTA and SOFITEC are also participating in the project to ensure that the results reach the entire value chain.

This project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.