New lightweight High-Performance Composite (HPC) materials and efficient sustainable processing technologies will have an enormous environmental and performance benefit in all sectors of application. However, current sustainable HPC application is limited to large sectors due to their limitations in terms of long processing times, high prices and low recyclability. To overcome these limitations, r-LightBioCom proposes a paradigm shift in the way HPC are manufactured and recycled, unlocking sustainable-by-design production of lightweight HPC. Therefore, the project will enable new circular value chains towards r-LightBioCom results, contributing to environmental-related EU goals and reducing the HPC waste generation and the use of non-sustainable fossil resources.
r-LightBioCom’s mission is to combine efforts of multidisciplinary actors from industry and research institutions to promote a paradigm shift from current linear composite value chains to circular ones. Current difficulties in obtaining lightweight HPC from recyclable and bio-based components result in generation of non-recyclable composite waste while it requires the use of non-sustainable fossil resources for their replacement. A paradigm shift in the way composites are manufactured and recycled is required unlocking sustainable-by-design HPC production to achieve environmental-related goals.
The main objective of r-LightBioCom is to reduce environmental impact of the new lightweight high-performance composites, not only during their production but also during their operational life and after achieving their final lifetime due to inherent recyclability properties, while providing improved mechanical properties, weight reduction and new functionalities.
r-LightBioCom focuses on the development of innovative technologies in 4 main areas:
2. Production Technologies
3. Environmental Impact Reduction
The project will be carried out in 2 complementary phases:
1. Research & development phase
2. Validation phase
r-LightBioCom’s work plan consists of 7 technical work packages (WPs) – organised in 3 groups – and 2 transversal WPs for impact maximisation (WP8) and project management (WP9).
New materials & technologies: WP1 will research and develop new bio-based resins, additives, and related formulations. WP2 technologies will introduce recycled and sustainable fibres in HPC components. WP3 will develop new fast curing technologies to reduce the manufacturing costs and its associated emissions.
Sustainable-by-design framework: WP4 will research on novel recycling technologies for the HPC components. WP5 will propose the optimisation framework encompassing a Circular Economy Indicator. Finally, WP6 will perform the LCA study of the whole process to increase the energy savings in the production process.
Use case validation: WP7 will validate project results in the automotive, infrastructure and aeronautics sector.
Within the project, a sustainable catalogue of new advanced bio-based and recycled HPC materials with inherent recyclability properties will be developed. The catalogue will be consisting of at least:
To reduce current associated manufacturing costs as well as high energy consumptions and emissions, 2 new fast and efficient curing techniques combined with recycling technologies will be developed for the new catalogue of materials.
Furthermore, a new open method and related tools (Coupled Ecological Optimisation framework) will promote and standardise holistic sustainable HPC design, modelling and systematic optimisation, leading to a continuous sustainable catalogue growth and inclusion of new families of bio-based, recyclable lightweight HPC at competitive cost.
All r-LightBioCom results will be validated in 3 use cases
at automotive, infrastructure and aeronautic industries with specific business cases.