ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd and Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) are working together to ensure that the carbon fiber process waste and end-of-use components from the team are recycled as far as possible, promoting the most economic and environmentally efficient use of the material.
“It is hugely rewarding to see such an environmentally aware team as Land Rover BAR championing the issue of closed loop recycling in the marine sector. Our advanced, recycled carbon fiber products will help support the vital message of sustainability in elite sport and that is something we are very proud to be associated with,” said Frazer Barnes, ELG Carbon Fibre’s managing director.
ELG will become a technical supplier to the team and will process all carbon fiber manufacturing waste and end-of-use parts to recover the high-performance carbon fiber they contain. The recovered fibers will be converted into ELG’s milled and chopped fibers, which are used to make thermoset and thermoplastic compounds and nonwoven mats that are utilized in the manufacture of composite structures. Both organizations view this collaboration as a vital step in addressing the issue of global carbon consumption and raising awareness of closed-loop recycling within the marine industry.
ELG’s product engineers will work closely with Land Rover BAR’s own engineering team to develop applications for the recycled carbon fiber for Great Britain’s entry in the 36th America’s Cup. This will be achieved through the utilization of their CARBISO™ product line, which is perhaps known best for its application in the world’s first affordable high-volume carbon fiber chassis – the Gordon Murray iStream. The CARBISO™ products in the Land Rover BAR vessel will be made entirely from reprocessed Land Rover BAR carbon components such as hull molds, hulls and foils from boats used in past race campaigns.
With ELG’s support, Land Rover BAR hope to significantly increase the application of recycled composite materials during their next build campaign in 2018. The work is based on successful feasibility studies that have shown that high-quality carbon fibers can be recovered from the process waste and end-of-use parts and converted into products that are usable in the marine sector.
Tracing the waste is an important consideration for Land Rover BAR, as they hope to discover which components will be used in future applications. ELG conducts a range of tests on all feedstock to ensure the correct classification for every batch of material that is processed. A unique code is then allocated which provides full traceability through the subsequent processes.
“Our desire to be the world’s most sustainable sports team has meant that recycling the significant amounts of carbon fiber that we use in boat construction has been a concern for us for some while. So we are very pleased to have reached this agreement with ELG, and to be working with them on carbon recycling. This will be a very significant issue, not just for the marine industry but for the wider world in the coming decades and we have to start now and push hard to develop awareness and find solutions,” said Michel Marie, Land Rover BAR’s Manufacturing Manager.