The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) has encouraged the recycling of composites through co-processing in cement kilns in its document ‘Composites Recycling Made Easy’. The document describes how three recycling technologies for glass fibre reinforced thermosets have been studied – i.e. material recycling, chemical recycling and co-processing – and co-processing in cement kilns was found to be the best option. It is cost-effective, generates valuable materials and improves the cement industry’s environmental footprint.
16% reduction in CO2 possible
Already, co-processing is becoming increasingly popular across Europe. The glass fibre thermoset composite parts are cut up and processed into small chunks, called composite regrind. This regrind then acts as both a raw material and a fuel in the kiln, replacing valuable mineral resources and energy. The document cites Holcim’s study into the CO2-reduction value of the process, which estimates that if 25% composite regrind was used, a 5.3% reduction in the plant’s carbon footprint could be achieved. At 75% composite regrind use, that figure reaches 16%.
Compliant with EU legislation
The EuCIA document states: ‘Recycling through co-processing in cement kilns is fully compliant with the European Waste Framework Directive (WFD) 2008/98/EC providing viable waste management route for the composites industry. Co-processing is both recycling and energy recovery.’
One example of the kind of composite that could be recycled in this manner is wind turbine blades, which are shown in the EuCIA document being sawed and ground into composite regrind.
Edited from various sources by Katherine Guenioui.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/11022013/recycle_composites_in_cement_kiln_180/