Circularise is taking part in the multi-stakeholder research project, EuReComp. The project’s main goal is to enable circularity of composite materials coming from aircrafts and wind turbine blades parts, at their End-of-Life (EoL). Currently, Circularise is working with 20 leading industry experts, involving suppliers from the aerospace industry, manufacturers of the automotive and composite sectors, as well as research centres in mechanical and industrial engineering. The project is expected to take place from April 2022 until March 2026.
EuReComp's primary objective is to pioneer sustainable methods for the recycling and reuse of composite materials and their components from various industries. Circularise is leading the development of a sophisticated communication system for disseminating essential information on the recycling and repurposing of the components. This will support the aerospace and wind energy industries around the challenges of information gaps for recycling and improve overall data communication along the value chain.
EuReComp is an ongoing project. It started in April 2022 and will end in March 2026.
Composite materials, such as those found in aircrafts, wind turbine blades, and various other industries, pose a challenge in terms of disposal that places pressure on the environment. Every day, the amount of composite waste is increasing, and there are no clear strategies on what to do with it. Around 60% of the waste fibre-reinforced composites are landfilled1, which can result in long-term environmental contamination and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Moreover, composites can take up a significant amount of space in landfills, which can contribute to limited availability and the increasing cost of landfills due to the rising demand for disposal sites. In addition, the disposal of composites in landfills means a considerable loss of valuable resources, given that the content of these materials that can be repurposed, recycled, or reused to manufacture new products.
Disposing of composites in landfills take up a significant amount space in landfills, which can contribute to:
To address these issues, the EuReComp project is looking at developing sustainable methods to recycle and repurpose composite materials and components, reducing their environmental impact while creating a circular economy. This is supported by the EU’s Circular Economy plan, which aims to drastically reduce the amount of material waste sent to landfills by bringing down landfill disposal to only 10% of all waste by 2035.
Focusing on the R6 strategy for the reuse, repair, refurbish, remanufacture, repurpose, and recycling of parts from end-of-life large-scale products, such as aircraft and wind turbine blades. The project prioritises 5 key objectives, in particular:
Some of the EuReComp pilot programs that are in progress are as follows:
Spearheaded by the National University of Athens, EuReComp brings together a diverse group of partners. Innovation centre AIMEN is devising a strategy for automating the sorting process of EoL parts, analysed by mechanical and industrial engineering institute INEGI. Alongside other partners, the University of Patras is formulating recycling methodologies to transform EoL parts into new components for various applications. Examples include an automotive demo case for partners Dallara and BT Composites, as well as a naval and construction demo case led by APM. The European Aeronautics Science Network (EASN) is handling the project's dissemination activities. See the full list of partners at the end of the page.
Circularise supports the work around the development of the R6 Strategy for waste stream management for the project, as well as the demonstration of the use cases defined for recycling technologies.
Providing software to cater specifically to the needs of the aerospace and wind turbine materials sectors, Circularise aims to provide a decentralised communication system that enables stakeholders to securely share sensitive data across their respective supply chain. Leveraging blockchain technology to ensure data integrity and trustworthiness, our use of zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) cryptography also ensures that confidential data remains secure and undisclosed to unauthorised parties.
Our solution helps share confidential information safely and reliably with recycling centres. This information, which includes the condition and primary characteristics of the parts, is crucial for proper recycling and creating useful materials like carbon or fibres. It also ensures that recycled materials are used efficiently and effectively. EoL components from aircraft and wind turbines can be:
Read more about Circularise’s traceability software for suppliers and manufacturers and brands and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
By the end of the EuReComp project, the expected impact is as follows:
By showcasing the platform’s functionalities within the demo cases selected within the EuReComp project, stakeholders within the aerospace and green energy industries can see the usefulness of this tool. This would support initiatives around tracing value chains within these industries so that in the future, data is available for sustainable decision-making and resource allocation for EoL parts. This will lead to the improvement of waste management by automating processes, reducing time, and maximising resources on the corresponding R6 strategies.
“The Circularise platform proves to be highly beneficial for our supply chain, showcasing a prime example of an excellent traceability system that all businesses should adopt. Leveraging the capabilities of the Circularise platform, our company can customise it to our specific requirements and unique circumstances. This becomes particularly advantageous during external audits or when engaging with customers, as the Circularise platform eliminates the need for physical paperwork or cumbersome Excel sheets. Furthermore, the platform's immense value extends to scenarios where a protocol must be transmitted to a customer in the event of a product defect. By providing the customer with a comprehensive overview of all the steps involved in the product's creation, we can easily identify where the error originated. Thus, the Circularise platform proves its worth across numerous dimensions, making it an invaluable asset for our operations.”
- Thomai Tiriakidou, Dipl. Mechanical Engineer (M.Sc), B&T Composites
“Circularise platform is a valuable tool for decentralised supply chain management that serves as an excellent illustration of a traceability system. The replacement of numerous e-mails for text files and Excel spreadsheets sharing from this user-friendly platform facilitates the immediate updatability and restraint of possible errors realised. Moreover, through the digital twin and digital product passport of the developed demonstrators, stakeholders have access to an overview of the materials and products' composition and life cycle. By adapting and utilising the platform's capabilities to our particular needs as demonstrator manufacturers, BioG3D can accelerate activities connected to supply chain procedures and emphasise further manufacturing optimisation. In conclusion, Circularise platform enables EURECOMP partners to build robust traceability capabilities and manage advanced supply chain performance.”
- Alexandra Papatheodorou, BIOG3D
1 Karuppannan Gopalraj, S., & Kärki, T. (2020). A review on the recycling of waste carbon fibre/glass fibre-reinforced composites: Fibre recovery, properties and life-cycle analysis. SN Applied Sciences, 2(3), 433.
AIMEN Technology Centre is a Non-Profit Innovation and Technology Centre in Spain, highly specialised in materials and in advanced manufacturing technologies applied to high-performance materials development and processing, robotics and automation.
Anthony, Patrick & Murta - Exportação Lda (APM)
Anthony, Patrick & Murta - Exportação Lda (APM) is an industrial manufacturer of composite parts and structures based in Portugal. APM´s main speciality lies in design and prototyping, on-site construction or installation of composite structures, dismantling of composite structures, and I&D on new composite materials and their applications.
BIOG3D is an SME, based in Greece, providing performance-driven solutions enabled by Additive Manufacturing to accelerate the Technology Readiness Level through advanced prototyping. The company’s activity includes the development of new customs procedures to improve and control manufacturing methods through Additive Manufacturing.
B&T Composites S.A. is an SME active in the field of composite materials and based in Greece. The company delivers sophisticated solutions using the filament winding method and best quality raw materials, including carbon, glass, nylon, basalt and aramid fibres.
Dallara is an acclaimed motorsport firm that is recognised globally for its proficiency in creating, manufacturing, and augmenting race cars. The company's primary expertise lies in designing using carbon fibre composite materials, aerodynamics through computerised virtual simulations and wind tunnels, vehicle dynamics testing, and nimble production of quality prototypes.
European Aeronautics Science Network (EASN)
The European Aeronautics Science Network (EASN) is an association comprising European Academia engaged in researching Aviation and Space. EASN aims for the advancement of new knowledge, innovation, and disruptive technology development through fundamental research in the Aviation & Space industry.
Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW)
Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW) works on the development and manufacturing of flat fibre-reinforced composite components for structures and interiors of the entire Airbus family, the conversion of passenger aircraft into freighter configuration, maintenance and repair of Airbus aircraft as well as engineering services in the context of certification and approval.
The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. is the leading organisation for applied research in Europe. The EuReComp involves the Polymer Recycling department, part of the Fraunhofer’s Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (Fraunhofer IVV) in Freising, Germany. This department enables the dissolution, separation and recovery of target polymers from complex mixtures.
Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK)
Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK Leipzig) is one of the most renowned universities in Saxony. The university is actively engaged in diversified research projects, including fundamental and applied studies, as well as pure industrial R&D, mainly related to next-generation lightweight materials in the automotive and aerospace industries, CO2-efficient and energy-efficient technologies, practical and experimental mechanics, and virtual simulation technologies. The university also holds significant expertise in composite materials research.
Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (INEGI)
The Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (INEGI), is a Research and Technology Organisation (RTO), focused on research and technology-based innovation activities, technology transfer, consulting and technological services. INEGI is a non-profit, private and recognised as a public utility entity that aims to contribute towards the development of the industry and the economy in general, through scientific and technology-based innovation.
Innovation in Research and Engineering Technologies (IRES)
The Innovation in Research and Engineering Technologies (IRES) is a consulting R&D (Research and Development) firm that primarily offers specialised services and tailored solutions. Their expertise resides in the domains of circularity and sustainability, risk and safety (including nanosafety), data science, and materials science digitisation. IRES conducts Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) evaluations on newly developed prototypes from various industries such as sports, aerospace, automotive, and textiles. It also supports innovative processes, including Additive Manufacturing technologies, Carbon fibre recycling processes, and bio-based materials. IRES additionally delivers risk and safety assessments across the manufacturing chains, offering recommendations and ensuring successful project implementation with support from data science services that involve image processing and computer vision.
ITAINNOVA is a non-profit technology centre that aims to enhance competitiveness in the industrial sector by developing, obtaining, adjusting, and distributing innovative technologies. The institution delivers market-focused services that provide practical and creative solutions based on its research and development branches. These solutions create improvements in technological processes of businesses and address new challenges emerging in society.
Kunststoff-Zentrum Leipzig, operating from Leipzig in Germany, is an autonomous industrial-orientated entity that provides technological, training and testing services. Their services range from research and developmental ventures in the pre-competitive domain to collaborative industry-based research, innovative product offerings, and technology dissemination in various polymer processing fields. The prime focus of this centre is to equip companies with the necessary knowledge and tools to develop and implement new technologies and processes.
National Technical University of Athens
The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) is part of the EuReComp project by involving the School of Chemical Engineering (Department of Materials Science and Engineering). This hosts the Research Lab of Advanced, Composite, Nano Materials & Nanotechnology (R-NanoLab), which main goal is to undertake the design, production, and characterisation of advanced, composite, and nano-materials.
Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino, located in Torino is an engineering and architecture university and the oldest technical university in Italy. , the SMaLL group (multi-Scale Modeling Laboratory) at the Energy Department of Politecnico di Torino is involved in the project. This research group has been actively modelling thermal and transport properties of materials and composites applicable in energy-related industries, including carbon nanomaterials.
The Silesian University of Technology (SUT), is the oldest technical university in the region and one of the most prestigious in Poland. It has always been a public institution, playing a cultural and opinion-forming role in the region
STRATAGEM Energy Ltd is a research and innovation SME working on sustainable development projects mainly in the domains of Energy, Environment, Material, Agrifood, Material, ICT, Transport and Urban Mobility. STRATAGEM delivers insightful and well-timed research on engineering solutions complemented by professional business services. These include, but are not limited to, innovative business & ecosystem models, commercialisation plans and go-to-market strategies, dissemination, exploitation, communication, sustainability & environmental assessments, life cycle analysis (LCA) and assessment, energy & environmental action plans, audits etc.
Technische Universität Dresden
Technische Universität Dresden is a technical University in Dresden, Germany. Their Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology (ILK) is a research institution working on broad research and developmental activities in the field of material and energy-efficient lightweight engineering that saves resources. ILK operates on the “function-integrative system lightweight engineering in multi-material design” Dresden model that employs a cross-product and cross-material approach. Their scientists consider everything from material development through to simulation, production, prototype testing, quality assurance, and product evaluation while developing new concepts, processes, and products.
University of Patras
The University of Patras, situated in Patras, Greece, involves two laboratories. First, the Plasma Technology Laboratory, based in the Department of Chemical Engineering, contributes to environmental, energy, and medicinal applications, focusing on plasma processing of materials, low pressure, atmospheric pressure, and plasma in the liquid reactor. Second, the Laboratory of Technology and Strength of Materials, located in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics, mainly targets manufacturing, mechanical testing, damage characterisation and assessment, and holistic impact assessment regulations of hybrid and composite materials in different settings such as space structures, hydrogen tanks, and aerostructure designs.