Ecobulk At PRSE2021

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ISWA was at the PRSE2021 show in Amsterdam at the end of last week on the 4th and 5th of November, in full project presentation mode. Ecobulk was on display, promoting the latest developments and getting interest from the industry.

Ecobulk, now in its last month, brough over the author of the “Circular Design Guide” book that the project produced based on the experiences of our partners in redesigning composite products in the automotive, furniture and construction sector to integrate them into a circular lifecycle. As we have said before, we believe this starts with design. In the end, design needs to integrate all of the different aspects of the lifecycle into a coherent product. As the Design Work Package leader Ruud Balkenende likes to say, “a design that does not take into account the end-of-life is not complete“.

On display were also production samples from the Ecobulk automotive sector partners that have been testing different strategies to increase circularity for internal car parts, in this case from the central console. The bioplastics and natural fibre composites tested by partner CRF did well in all the tests except for the UV exposure. As our partner explains, the Fiat-Chrysler marriage means testing components with the exacting American standards which in this case includes withstanding the Arizona desert sun without discoloration. Visitors to the exhibition were still intrigued by the potential applications in less demanding contexts. The use of natural fibres was particularly well received by visitors from countries that are rich in these type resources and do not have easy access to the more traditional glass and carbon options.

There was also plenty of attention to the use of GFRPs from wind turbines in construction materials. These thermoset materials can be crushed and used as structural filler in thermoplastic extrusion profiles that are weatherproof and can therefore be used in light outdoor constructions like sheds and benches. By injecting the color during production, no maintenance is needed until end-of-life, when the material can be re-crushed and remanufactured into the same quality material with only a little additional virgin plastic. In fact, towards the end of the show we ran out of brochures for this particular application. If you are one of the ones that missed out, or just want to know more, download is available here.

For those that missed it the exhibition, and/or are curious about our project, the Ecobulk Final Conference will be held online on the 26th of November. There, we will present all of the prototypes as well as the circular supporting technologies we haev developed during the project to demonstrate that circularity for composites is not only possible, but realistic and attractive.