The Basque city of San Sebastian has hosted the opening meeting for the European project ECOXY “Bio-based recyclable, reshapable and repairable (3R) fibre-reinforced EpOXY composites for automotive and construction sectors.” This is a 42 months project starting in June 2017 within the Horizon 2020 framework. With a 4.8 million euros budget it brings together 13 partners from Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Poland and Denmark. Coordinated by the Basque technology centre Cidetec, it envisages developing two prototypes helping demonstrate the prospects offered by these new materials for key sector of our economy such as the construction and automotive industries.n.
The ECOXY project aims at developing innovative bio-based epoxy resins and fibre reinforcements to produce new sustainable thermoset composites by targeting advanced functionalities: reparability, reprocessability and recyclability (3R). The manufactured parts will be validated for the demanding construction and automotive sectors.
Composites: a key material for industrial activities
Fibre reinforced thermoset composites (FRTCs) are attractive materials for high demanding sectors, such as automotive or construction, due to their lightweight and excellent mechanical properties. However, the lack of reprocessability and difficulty for repairing and recycling significantly increases the overall material cost and causes grave environmental concerns.
Additionally, the vast majority of polymer matrices and fibres used in their manufacturing are non-renewable fossil-derived materials or require high amounts of energy for their production.
A bio-based and advanced alternative
Aiming at addressing those limitations by involving the European bio-based industry, ECOXY will develop innovative biobased epoxy resins and fibre reinforcements to produce new sustainable and techno-economically competitive FRTCs by targeting advanced functionalities: reparability, reprocessability and recyclability (3R).
The 3R functionalities will be achieved by using new resin formulations replacing commonly used curing agents by dynamic hardeners, which under certain operational makes possible to repair fibre/matrix delamination and matrix micro-cracks, reprocess cured laminates could be to create new 3D parts impossible with traditional FRTCs) and mechanical and chemical recycling.
ECOXY project will go further, providing advanced solutions
“We will develop tailor-made bio-based epoxy monomers, upgraded and functional bio-based fibres (natural and PLA), specific formulations for FRTCs manufacturing processes (RTM, wet compression moulding and pultrusion) and finally additional functionalities such as flame-retardancy for 3R resin and selfhealing for fibres.” states PhD Aratz Genua, project coordinator.
The selected prototypes will be validated for automotive and construction sectors using relevant standards and applicable certifications. Besides, an environmental (LCA) and socio-economic assessment of the results will be carried out.
Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking
This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 744311.
BBI stands for Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking. It is a €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC).
The BBI is dedicated to realising the European bioeconomy potential, turning biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products through innovative technologies and biorefineries, which are at the heart of the bioeconomy.