Arkema has signed an agreement with leading French officials to be in a lead partner in the Reverplast Project, which it says will look into introducing recycled materials into the manufacture of new thermoplastic materials for the automotive, boat building and wind power markets.
Arkema says the project is part of the new measures launched by France to assist companies in their “circular economy” approach based on committing to green growth. The idea behind the circular economy is the belief that products can have more than one lifecycle and that consumers should look at products in terms of “cradle to cradle” as opposed to cradle to grave.
For this specific project, Arkema is looking to create an end-of-life PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate, or acrylic glass) recovery stream to obtain new acrylic resins. These will then be entered into the composition of thermoplastic composite materials, which are also recyclable. The hope is that these materials will serve highly promising markets and will replace thermoset resins, which cannot be recycled.
The partners for the project are CANOE – an Aquitaine, France-based technology platform dedicated to advanced materials; Paprec – a plastics recycling specialist; Indra – a leader in the recycling of end-of-life vehicles; and Plastinov – a specialist in the processing of composite materials for the wind power market.
Sustainability has been a focal point of Arkema’s efforts. In addition to the Reverplast Project, Arkema also recently unveiled a prototype of a sailboat with a hull and bridge made entirely from recyclable thermoplastic composites.
One of the officials who signed the Reverplast Project agreement, Ségolène Royal, French Minister for the Environment, Energy and the Sea, is also no stranger to green composites. Back in February, she announced the country’s intention to, over the next five years, pave 1000 km of roads with a composite material that can adapt to thermal expansion in road surfaces.