The use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) has increased steadily in recent years and with it the amount of waste containing carbon fibers. The recycling possibilities are limited due to high product requirements and shortening of the fibres. Therefore, further processes are necessary. The process conditions of existing incineration paths are not sufficient for the conversion of this waste, which leads to technical problems up to the shutdown of thermal waste treatment plants. In addition, incomplete conversion can result in respirable fibres (so-called WHO fibres). This makes the handling of CFRP waste in such plants problematic.
The aim of the project is a comprehensive technological assessment of pyrometallurgical processes with regard to their suitability for the recycling of carbon fiber-containing waste. This includes laboratory and pilot-scale studies on the conversion of fibres in the process itself, as well as the handling (occupational safety) and prevention of respirable WHO-fibre emissions. Furthermore, possible effects on process integrity and quality of products will be examined. The developed fundamentals help to make a well-founded decision on the potential use of residues containing carbon fibres in industrial processes.
Besides project coordination, the work at TEER mainly focuses on the experimental design and characterisation of the thermal and emission behaviour of carbon fibre-containing residues.The project is carried out in cooperation with the Division 4.4 Thermochemical Residues Treatment and Resource Recovery of Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM). The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy provide funding over a two and a half-year period through Carbon Composites Leichtbau gGmbH within the Industrial Collective Research programme of AiF.