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The Airbus A350 XWB is one of several aircraft by major OEMs whose use of advanced composites will help drive demand for carbon fiber. Photo Credit: © AIRBUS S.A.S. 2016 — Photo by A. Doumenjou/master films

In line with these topics, EuCIA recently launched an EcoCalculator tool for performing an assessment on the environmental impact of composites using the lifecycle analysis approach (LCA). The tool is available free of charge until mid-2017 at http://ecocalculator.eucia.eu. The tool uses an inventory database specifically built using environmental data provided by material suppliers and converters in Europe. Proprietary data also can be used for the analysis. The tool provides a cradle-to-grave analysis output in the form of a PDF report and/or a file that can be used for further analysis using commercial LCA software.

As for new composite applications, EuCIA supports the activities of the European Committee for Standardization’s Technical Committee 250 (CEN/TC250) to develop European guidelines for the design of FRP structures as a support to the implementation, harmonization and further development of the Eurocodes for building and construction. Guidelines were published in 2016 by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, and are currently under public enquiry. The procedure of adoption into the Eurocodes is expected to be completed by 2020.

Unfair competition practices are currently striking the European industry, due to dumping (a pricing policy in international trade where products are sold below the cost of production) and subsidies from far-east major market players. In order to guarantee a level playing field for European producers, effective anti-dumping trade measures were introduced by the European Commission upon request of the European Glass Fibre Producers Association (APFE). Products currently subject to these measures are chopped strands, rovings and mats.