Partnership to recycle carbon fiber composite scrap

Finland’s Exel Composites and Fairmat, a pioneer in recycling carbon fiber and manufacturing advanced recycled materials, have announced a partnership to repurpose carbon fiber waste.

Fairmat will recycle Exel Composites’ carbon fiber composite scrap at its Nantes manufacturing facility to produce second-generation CFRP Chips and high-performance composite units, significantly reducing waste.

Beginning in the second quarter of 2024, the carbon fiber composite scrap will be transferred to Bouguenais from Exel Composites’ two plants in Finland.

Traditional waste-management techniques involving pyrolysis or solvolysis use significant amounts of energy, mitigating the environmental benefits of recycling used carbon fiber. In contrast, Fairmat’s reconstitution process uses proprietary cutting technologies, using robotic tools equipped with machine learning to dissemble carbon fiber components and convert the pieces into CFRP building blocks.

“Fairmat’s innovative recycling methodology enables its products to retain the high strength and stiffness of the original embedded fibers,” explained Kim Sjödahl, senior VP of technology and sustainability at Exel Composites. “This is often compromised by other recycling methods that involve chopping and milling carbon fiber.

“Combined with its minimal energy input, Fairmat’s process is genuinely game-changing for sustainability in the composites industry. What’s more, the successful recycling of process waste also opens possibilities to recycle the end-of-life waste from our customers”.

“The partnership with Exel aligns with our mission to build a closed-loop ecosystem that keeps high-value products from going to waste,” said Benjamin Saada, founder and CEO of Fairmat. “Fairmat is here to enable a wave of sustainable progress, putting advanced recycled materials at the heart of forward-thinking industrials worldwide, to make product manufacturing more circular.”

Using AI tools such as digital twins to model different 3D arrangements during the design phase, Fairmat can assemble its CFRP Chips into a variety of layouts and structures. These simulations enable it to customize the mechanical properties of the resulting product, such as extremely low weight for transportation components and localized, unidirectional strength for impact surfaces.