Samsung Ventures Invests in Recyclable Composites

Connora Technologies has announced an investment from Samsung Venture Funds to advance commercialisation of the company’s recyclable epoxy thermoset technology called Recyclamine.

Along with the recent investment, two new members have joined Connora’s advisory board; Andre Genton, former President of Huntsman Advanced Materials, and Brendan Iribe, a successful entrepreneur known recently for the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook.

The epoxy technology is a green chemistry platform that provides an efficient method for making and recycling composite waste materials and products. The company is hoping that their technology will be picked up by the automotive and aerospace industries, where the trend is to make lighter, stronger, and more energy efficient vehicles through the use of advanced composite materials.

Carbon fibre parts are often made in high volumes, with sometimes 20–40% of the raw materials going to waste. Since traditional thermoset plastics are not optimised for recyclability, current composite waste is intractable and often disposed of in landfill or by burning.

The company say that this investment shows that the technology will have an economic value for manufacturers just as compelling as the obvious environmental benefits. Reclaiming expensive carbon fibre, from manufacturing waste in a near virgin state, and enabling OEMs to put it back into their products will help lower their costs over time.

The European Union Directive for End of Life Vehicles (ELV) is already pushing the limits for composite materials if they are to have a mainstream role in that industry. Under the current provisions of the ELV Directive targeted for 2015, the proportions of ELV material required for re-use and recycling are 85% by weight, while that for re-use and recovery is 95%. The 10% difference being the amount allowed for incineration and energy recovery.

Connora’s Recyclamine Technology enables carbon fibre composites to more readily qualify as a recyclable material. Connora is currently in discussions with several auto and aerospace companies to develop a specific Recyclamine system for use in high-pressure resin transfer moulding processes (HP-RTM), suitable to the high-volume manufacturing methods being adopted by auto and aerospace manufacturers today.