University of Warwick - Making green carbon fibre viable for business

Research at the University of Warwick has established the technical and commercial viability of recycled carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) in high-performance manufacturing industries, driving massive increases in green carbon fibre production. 

Whilst the use of CFRP provides more sustainable transportation solutions and reduced carbon emissions through vehicle and aircraft light-weighting, its production and end-of-life disposal have a far greater environmental impact than any metal; with up to 40% of CFRP going to landfill.  

Researchers at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) collaborated with ELG Carbon Fibre to establish both technical and commercial viability of using recycled carbon fibre in industrial applications. As a result of improved manufacturing processes, annual sales of a new recycled product grew rapidly from £300,000 in 2016 to £2,000,000 from 2018 to 2020 – an increase of more than 560%. The new recycled carbon fibre is opening new international markets and is in use by companies across 26 countries.  

Warwick’s research has enabled mass production of the product, delivering significant environmental benefits in manufacturing processes.  ELG Carbon Fibre’s 1,700t capacity plant has a concomitant saving of 52,700tCO2e/year in global warming potential when compared to virgin carbon fibre production.   

 The collaboration between WMG and ELGCF has solved specific production challenges to deliver major commercial, economic and environmental benefits. The technical advances achieved have created new skilled jobs, with ELGCF’s workforce more than doubling from 42 in 2016 to 102 in 2020. 

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