Project C2CC will produce fiber-reinforced composites for automotive applications, aiming at the substitution metals in cars. This substitution is one of the primary focuses of EIT Raw Materials, since at the moment European manufacturing is critically dependant on raw materials coming from outside Europe.
To be compliant with End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) regulations and low cost, these Polymer Composite Materials (PMC) will be based on basalt-derived-mineral-fibers (BDMF, which are fully recyclable), and innovative bio-mass derived thermo-set resins. The resulting Basalt-PMC (B-PMC) that can be chemically “cleavaged” to recover both the polymer (which will be used for producing automotive internal parts) and the fibers (which will be re-melted and re-employed for the original components).
In addition, the project will study Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), the socioeconomic impacts, the Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and embodied energy (EEE) of pristine and recovered materials. Furthermore, Life Cycle Costing (LCC) will be performed to address the economic performance of the recycling process. Project C2CC is funded with 1’137’000 € by KIC Raw Materials (upscaling-KAVA 5) with activities aiming at TRL 7, including a go-to-market strategy.
Goals and activities
C2CC aims at demonstrating that two innovative products could be combined making possible a disruptive evolution in the automotive sector:
- “Filava” BDMF, a promising mineral fiber, produced in Belgium by isomatex SA and distributed and developed in Italy by GS4C.
- Connora cleavable hardeners for epoxy resins, based on proprietary technology and distributed in Europe by R*Concept/Ferrer Dalmau.
Project demonstrator is producing a full recyclable composite car front bonnet, for the FCA model 500 Abarth, aiming at future application to the production of 100’000 pieces per year according to a cradle-to-cradle (c2c) recycling model.
The C2CC project activity plan will include 6 work packages, aiming at developing the innovative prepregs (based on the aeronautical grade basalt derived mineral fibers and the innovative polymer matrix) and optimizing them, in association to the engineering and production of the selected automotive component (a front bonnet) which will then be qualified according to FCA criteria and considering expected working conditions. Besides the partnership will engineer a recycling pilot line, and optimize the recovered thermoplastic use for the production of automotive internal components.
- WP0: perform a realistic and relevant analysis of market conditions, market size and growth rate, competitors, competitive solutions and key stakeholders.
Coordinator – CRF.
- WP1: exploitation, IPR and dissemination activities in order to maximize the market uptake of the innovative solutions.
Coordinator – ENEA.
- WP2: develop the prepreg, according to automotive expectations and specifications, material procurement to the other partners and optimisation of curing and recycling processes.
Coordinator – GAIKER.
- WP3: technology transfer to production, producing automotive demonstrators (car front bonnet) at TRL7.
Coordinator – AM Composite.
- WP4: quantification of the environmental benefits by applying LCSA and evaluating OPEX CAPEX values.
Coordinator – University of Bordeaux.
- WP5: dissemination and communication, support professional development via tailored courses.
Coordinator – GS4C.
Summary of activity performed during 2019. During the first 3 months, the industrial partners chose the demonstrator and agreed about its target performances. During the subsequent 3 months, preliminary tests on different possible polymer matrixes were compared, while modeling (up to CRF) supported engineering of the component and the mold, in a positive interaction with composite materials development and optimisation. Filava BDMF weaving type was chosen at month 6, with fabric procurement distributed between R*concept, ENEA and GS4C. Before month nine, preliminary prepreg production will be performed (in Gaiker) allowing component production tests in the industrial facilities (in AM Composites). Along with that, during 2019, dissemination activity was performed including: several talks,laboratory-open-days and other public events for involving composite technicians and students in material science. Along with the R&D activity, C2CC set an IPR policy and carried out a patent analysis and a know-how protection plan.
C2CC aims at:
- Setting up the processing of BDMF fabric (based on aeronautical grade basalt fiber) in the form of a cradle-to-cradle recyclable prepreg;
- Demonstrating the environmental advantages of this new class of recyclable PMC;
- Producing automotive parts at TRL 7, for evaluating costs and other unexpected critical points.
- Drawing a rather detailed commercialisation/industrialisation path which would benefit European producers of raw materials (polymer resins and mineral fibres) prepreg producers and automotive end users through the offer of materials, components and services.
- Developing cross cutting exploitation in other parallel markets for high-end PMC, possibly spanning from eolic renewable energy production, to marine, constructions and aeronautics.