Carbon Fiber Recycling, Inc. (CFR), a division of Modern Recovery Systems, Inc. is building a facility in Tazewell, Tenn., that plans to recycle up to 2,000 tons of carbon fiber per year. The plant will extract carbon fibers from finished composites, including laminates, trimmings, tooling, and other end-of-life components. The recovered carbon fibers will be made available in milled or random chopped form.

Tim Spahn, executive director of licensing & sales at Carbon Fiber Recycling, Inc., explained that the company’s facility in Bethel, Conn. is not large enough to keep up with demand.

“[Being in] Tennessee allows us to be able to keep millions of pounds out of the landfill and start to fill the need for the recycling of carbon fiber,” Spahn said. “In a few years, as we grow, we will be looking to build on the West Coast to help the West Coast carbon fiber industry.”

The company’s current product range includes 3mm, 6mm and 12 mm chopped fiber, milled fiber for epoxy coatings and thermoplastic compounding and customized thermoplastic compounds. Spahn says companies who recycle products with the company follow a seven-step process:

  1. Companies contact CFR and make arrangements to send a sample of cured epoxy resin, laden wet carbon fiber, or prepreg material for approval.
  2. Upon approval, companies send cured epoxy resin, laden wet carbon fiber or pre­preg waste to CFR.
  3. CFR physically sizes the material. (For shipping, size reduction may be beneficial prior to sending a sample.)
  4. The waste carbon fiber is decontaminated and separated from various metals and deleterious materials.
  5. The carbon fiber waste gets processed through CFR’s proprietary continuous thermolysis equipment, removing the epoxy resins and any sizings from the carbon fiber waste.
  6. The carbon fiber undergoes secondary decontamination for any metals and deleterious materials.
  7. The processed carbon fiber is accumulated and placed into containers for shipping.

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