MarineShift360 asserts that use of the LCA tool can help boat builders increase their efficiency and potentially reduce costs without compromising performance. Commercial release is scheduled for late 2019. Businesses are encouraged to provide input by taking part in MarineShift360’s questionnaire on their website at www.marineshift360.org/questionnaire-form.
Materials: Embracing Recycling
INEOS Team UK, a competitor in the America’s Cup 2021 yacht race, has formed a technical partnership with ELG Carbon Fibre, a provider of recycled carbon fiber, to ensure sustainable materials and practices are incorporated into its build program. The AC75 class monohull boat being built for the world-famous yacht race provides a highly visible platform for sustainable materials and practices.
“About 25% of all carbon fiber produced ends up as waste in a landfill. ELG realizes the need to recover this high-value material,” says Frazier Barnes, ELG’s managing director. While ELG’s recycled carbon fiber has been more often used in high-volume markets such as transportation, electronics and energy, when INEOS Team UK approached ELG about ways to recycle their carbon fiber waste, the company saw it as an opportunity to showcase carbon fiber recycling.
“For the first time in America’s Cup history, sustainable construction requirements have been defined within the Class rule,” says Alan Boot, naval architect for INEOS Team UK. “This presents a great opportunity to transform waste materials into resources for our cradles and the molds for our race boats, showcasing applications for recycled fiber within high-performance yachting. We recognize that our operations have an impact on the local, regional and global environment, and we believe in operating in such a way as to contribute to sustainable development.”
INEOS Team UK collects its scrap carbon fiber material, largely uncured prepreg and laminate trim, and sends it to ELG’s carbon recycling plant in Coseley, West Midlands, U.K. In return, ELG provides the INEOS Team UK with CARBISO M™ recycled non-woven mat. The 100% recycled mat is used to make molds for the boat hull and deck and to manufacture support cradles (structures to hold the boat during transport). The largest mold is 75 feet long. Other dimensions are confidential since the boat’s design is a competitive factor.
The molds are laminated on CNC male plugs and then resin-infused with epoxy. Due to mold strength and process requirements, the first laminate layer placed is virgin carbon fiber cloth. The laminate thickness is built up with a mix of recycled mat and virgin carbon fiber mat to provide a balanced laminate. After infusion, the mold is cured in an oven (no pressure applied) between 176 F and 194 F.