This year, the HELACS project has been present at the stand of Aitiip Centro Tecnológico, during its participation in PRSE 2022.
The HELACS project has recently completed one year of life. During this time, the consortium partners have been making progresses in their research and in the development of novel robotics to recycle composite materials of large components. In this way, HELACS is consolidated as a revolutionary alternative to the problem of the end of life of this type of aircraft components, facilitating their recyclability and, therefore, making their recovery and reuse possible. helacs paves the way towards the green transition, which is now the main goal of Europe’s aviation industry.
For aircrafts that are no longer in service, the owner considers the trade-off between direct resale and disassemble & recycled. Besides that, HELACS project (Holistic processes for the cost-effective and sustainable management of End of Life of Aircraft Composite Structures) is focused on the study of the second one of these options.
You can now download the official HELACS project brochure. A project comes to transform the dismantling process of the aircraft of the future. HELACS employs novel robotics to recycle composite materials of large components. The HELACS process is based on the application of high water pressure that will selectively chop the thermoset parts into a dimension suitable for recycling. In addition, the pyrolysis process is used for the carbonization of the thermoset matrix to reuse the carbon fibers that overcome this chemical decomposition.
These days, metal is the main component of aircraft parts but, for the last few years, the aeronautical industry has been incorporating new materials, such as thermoset compounds. They require a recycling system that allows the extraction of the reusable components (carbon fiber), to produce less waste of this composite material, which is hardly recyclable until now. HELACS offers a technological solution to recycle both thermoset materials and thermoplastics, which are currently booming and are considered to be the materials of the coming future for aircrafts.
AITIIP Technology Centre leads HELACS, a European project which aims to develop a dual methodology of controlled comprehensive dismantling in order to make possible the classification, recycling and reuse of aircraft parts made of thermoset and thermoplastic composites that have reached their end of life. Annually, the aeronautical industry is depositing more than 40,000 tons of end-of-life composite material waste in landfills. Thanks to the recovery of materials, the technology proposed by HELACS will benefit the change towards an energy efficiency model.
This project has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 101007871