Development and validation of an innovative process for recycling and recovery of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), and marketing of new recycled FRP goods.
Approximately 800,000 tons/year of FRP are produced in Europe, with a trend in continuous growth, by virtue of the difficult to replace performance characteristics of FRP, suitable for the realization of countless products fitting into virtually every industrial sector. Most FRP waste are disposed of in landfills, this require a very rapid and effective solution in line with EU 2020 circular economy Action Plan.
The REVYTA partnership: EFFEBI (shipyard manufacturing), SNIAP (manufacturing of components for railway vehicles), DIFE (waste management company), Flashpoint (4.0 traceability), SSSUP and UNIPI (public Universities), CPTM (public/private research centre).
FRP goods dismantling in REVYTA was through highly automated robots with artificial systems of perception by means of artificial vision (e.g. via IoT and RFID) and robotic manipulators. These systems works in cooperation with qualified human operators.
REVYTA also determine the costs for each recycled product and the real market value.
Manufacturing companies involved in the project had then to review, also under the design profile, their products with a design-for-recovery approach.
The project allows recycling of FRP waste as an alternative to landfill disposal, thus supporting circular economy development for a so far hard to recycle waste and, as such, may be supported through cohesion funds from Member States Public Authorities
Project total cost: 1.99 million euro, out of 945 thousand euro were public funding from Tuscany ERDF OP 2014 – 2020
Evidence of success
• From a sample of 50 Kg of fiberglass (from a 2.000 Kg vessel hull) 20 Kg of glass and 25 Kg of resin, both ready for market, were recovered
• Avoided costs are around 1.2 €/Kg of recycled resin, out of which 0.2 €/Kg is the avoided landfill cost and 1 €/Kg is the market value of recycled resin
• Revision and redefinition of design standards and design of fiberglass parts and components
• Establish an effective collaborative model for management of the entire product life cycle
High costs of disassembling are the major challenge in recycling GFR.
A common European legislative framework about waste FRP management would be very valuable to improve environmental sustainability for this economic sector.
Potential for learning or transfer
The REVYTA project results offer an industrial and eco-sustainable model of fibreglass recycling, still non-existent in Europe, through the dismantling and recycling of fibreglass in the nautical (boats), automotive (motorhomes) and transport (railway carriages) sectors.
At the same time, ecodesign studies carried out by the project allow to optimize the upstream production of the components, in terms of alternative shapes and materials, so as to allow, downstream, their simpler and cheaper dismantling, recovery and recycling.
The project tested automation/robotics solutions, according to Industry Strategy 4.0, that can be useful to speed up the cutting of GRP parts, avoiding operations dangerous to workers' health, increasing the professional qualifications of the staff employed and drastically reducing costs.
Last but not least, the project delivered an in-depth assessment of the relevant legal framework, with regard to End of Waste and Reach legislation