Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ILA 2018: CFRP recycling: into the battery instead of the garbage

12.04.2018

Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics are gaining importance as components of aircraft. The trend is increasing the need for sustainable recycling concepts. At the ILA from April 25 to 29, 2018 in Berlin (Hall 2, Booth 304), Fraunhofer will present a technology that converts recycled carbon fibers into materials for batteries and fuel cells. This saves costs, improves the CO2 balance and opens up new means of recycling in aircraft production.

Modern wide-body aircrafts today consist of over 50 percent carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). The material is installed, for example, over a large area in the wings or fuselage. With carbon fibers embedded in a plastic matrix, the composite is lighter than previously used materials, while still being very stable. The decisive advantage for aviation: due to their lower weight, airplanes need less fuel.


The Fraunhofer ICT uses recycled, small chopped carbon fibers (top) to produce bipolar plates (bottom) for batteries and fuel cells.

Fraunhofer ICT

"The manufacturing and processing of the CFRP is currently very time-consuming. The demand for sustainable recycling concepts is therefore steadily increasing," observes Elisa Seiler, scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal, Germany. The amounts of CFRP recycling material are tremendous: for the Airbus 350, for example, they add up to over 65 tons. "In addition to this there are other relevant scrap quantities that already arise during production," adds Seiler.

Bipolar plate manufactured

The Fraunhofer ICT has many years of experience in the development of technologies for fiber-reinforced plastics. At the ILA, the aviation and aerospace innovation trade fair, the scientists are presenting a concept that will be used to recover materials for batteries and fuel cells out of recycled carbon fibers. Together with partners, it has been possible to use recovered carbon fibers to produce a prototype of a bipolar plate – an electrode – on an industrial scale. The result is based on research from the "Graphit 2.0" and "RETRO" projects.

"Electric drives are now also a serious topic in the aviation industry. Manufacturers can directly perform value-preserving recycling by transferring materials from one application to the next," says Seiler. The carbon fibers are electrically conductive and are suitable as a substitute for natural graphite, which also consists of carbon: a resource-critical raw material for the German economy that currently has to be imported from China at great expense.

Food for 3D printing

Another advantage: recycled CFRP can be used for additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing. "This is also a trending topic in the industry that makes production processes more efficient and saves costs," says Seiler. After all, aircraft manufacturers also have to comply with the European Union (EU) requirements that have been in force since 2015: up to 85 percent of the average weight of a used vehicle has to be recycled. In addition: In Germany, the landfilling of CFRP is prohibited, and waste incineration plants can refuse to accept the material.

Pyrolysis with microwave radiation

The CFRP experts have developed a special process with which carbon fibers can be recovered from the plastic matrix. To do so, they use microwave radiation to burn the plastic matrix that surrounds the fibers. So that the fibers do not burn up at temperatures of up to 900 degrees Celsius, the combustion has to be performed without oxygen.

"In technical jargon, this is called pyrolytic decomposition," Seiler explains. The advantage of microwave radiation: energy efficiency – a whole oven no longer needs to be heated, just the component itself. The colleagues of the Polymer Engineering department at the Fraunhofer ICT embed the recovered fibers in thermoplastic material. This composite material has similar properties to graphite and is suitable for the production of bipolar plates. "Our prototype passed all the tests for conductivity, density and corrosion resistance perfectly," reports Seiler.

"We’ve proven that it’s generally feasible to use recycled CFRP fibers to produce bipolar plates for batteries and fuel cells. This shows that recycling works in a holistic approach. This is particularly interesting for the aviation industry," says Seiler in summarizing the added value of the research work. Both the recycled CFRP as well as the bipolar plates made from it can be seen at the ILA.

The next steps until early summer are the characterization of the bipolar plates in the battery cell network and studies concerning the life cycle assessment. "Then, we want to tune the technology so that we can manufacture bipolar plates from recycled CFRP in series – for example, with an aviation partner," concludes Seiler.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2018/april/cfrp-recycling-into-...

Tobias Steinhäußer | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Further reports about: CFRP ICT ILA aviation industry bipolar fibers graphite microwave radiation plastic

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT at MEDICA and COMPAMED: Electrowetting and Telemedicine
23.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht App-App-Hooray! - Innovative Kits for AR Applications
19.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: memory-steel - a new material for the strengthening of buildings

A new building material developed at Empa is about to be launched on the market: "memory-steel" can not only be used to reinforce new, but also existing concrete structures. When the material is heated (one-time), prestressing occurs automatically. The Empa spin-off re-fer AG is now presenting the material with shape memory in a series of lectures.

So far, the steel reinforcements in concrete structures are mostly prestressed hydraulically. This re-quires ducts for guiding the tension cables, anchors for...

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Weighing planets and asteroids

23.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fiber-based quantum communication - Interference of photons using remote sources

23.10.2018 | Information Technology

'Mushrooms' and 'brushes' help cancer-fighting nanoparticles survive in the body

23.10.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>