U.S. Senate Introduces Bill to Develop Carbon Fibre Recycling

U.S. senator Maria Cantwel has introduced a bill to develop the carbon fibre recycling business.

The senator has established S. 1432, which calls for a new study into the technology and energy savings received from recycled carbon fibre and invites to U.S. Department of energy to collaborate with both automotive and aviation industries to develop a recycled carbon fibre demonstration project.

Composites are increasingly being used in the advanced manufacturing sector because they offer significant advantages, including improved fuel efficiency, performance and corrosion resistance compared to traditional materials.

Current methods for manufacturing new carbon fibre tend to be energy intensive and create waste. According to the bill almost 30% of the carbon fibre used in manufacturing heads to landfills as scrap. In contrast, producing recycled carbon fibre requires only one-tenth of the energy as compared to manufacturing of new carbon fibre. Reusing and recycling this carbon fibre will help reduce landfill waste and carbon dioxide emissions.

In the senators Washington State, 96 composite companies produce two million pounds of production waste carbon fibre each year that is sent to a landfill. This carbon fibre has a potential market value of $50 million if it can be reused and recycled.

The new legislation would direct the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a study on the technology and energy savings of using recycled carbon fibre and production waste carbon fibre.

Some of the points of the study include the quantity of recycled and production waste carbon fibre needed to make its use economically viable along with barriers to use and financial incentives that may be needed for development of recycled carbon fibre and production waste carbon fibre.

The legislation would also direct the DOE to consult with the aviation and automotive industries and existing programs of the Advanced Manufacturing Office to develop a carbon fibre recycling demonstration project. The bill would authorise $10 million for the study and demonstration project.