Photo: (left to right) Uday Vaidya, IACMI CTO, John Unser, Technology Impact Manager, Geoff Wood, CRTC Fellow & VP Innovation, Dave Walter, CRTC CEO, Nobuyuki Odagiri, Toray Vice President and Sr. Technical Fellow, John Hopkins, IACMI CEO, Cliff Eberle, IACMI/ORNL Materials & Process Technology Director, Soydan Ozcan, IACMI/ORNL Recycling Fellow

Nearly 100 attendees listen closely as Frank O’Brien-Bernini, Owens Corning, presents on recycling from a sustainability perspective.

Recycling leaders from around the globe assembled last week at ACMA’s first Composites Recycling Conference held in Knoxville, TN to discuss technology and business developments making an impact in the industry. During the two-day conference, a group of nearly 100 experts gathered to share their knowledge and perspectives regarding sustainability, environmental and economic benefits, standardization, waste reduction, and more.

Many IACMI projects were showcased throughout the conference, including a project led by ACMA to develop a robust and scalable methodology with the goal of creating a mechanical and thermal recycling approach that captures both the energy value and the residual ash/fiber. Joe Fox of Ashland presented another high-level view of an IACMI project focused on recycling and reuse of vinyl ester prepreg scrap, and Ryan Ginder of the University of Tennessee presented on properties of recycled fibers.

A stunning prototype of the world’s first park bench made of recycled aerospace grade carbon fiber garnered much attention from attendees. The Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) developed the bench with the help of designer, Robert Stokes, and in collaboration with the City of Port Angeles, IACMI, and Toray Composite Materials America. Geoff Wood of CRTC presented on this project and other initiatives during the conference.

IACMI member, Andrew Maxey of Vartega, relaxes on the park bench made of recycled aerospace grade carbon fiber developed by CRTC.

Other topics included an update on recycling status and developments in Europe from EuCIA and University of Strathclyde, and recycling from a sustainability perspective from Frank O’Brien-Bernini, Owens Corning. Tim Spahn of Carbon Fiber Recycling, Inc. also presented and highlighted the recent announcement of a facility opening in Tazewell, TN that plans to recycle up to 2,000 tons of carbon fiber per year. See the conference agenda for the full list of speakers and topics.

Attendees of the conference were invited to tour the IACMI Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility (FCMF) at the University of Tennessee, which focuses on comprehensive research and development to prototyping of advanced fiber reinforced plastics and composites and has a staff of 35 graduate and undergraduate students working with Dr. Uday Vaidya, UT/ORNL Governor’s Chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing and IACMI Chief Technology Officer. Tours of the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility and Local Motors were also offered to attendees.

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Photo 1: Exhibitors including ELG Carbon Fiber, IACMI, MVP, and Ventilation Solutions displayed recycled prototypes at the conference. 

Photo 2: IACMI displayed preforms made with reclaimed carbon fibers in a project with ORNL, Materials Innovation Technologies MIT) and UTK. 

If you have questions about any of the materials covered during the conference, please contact Dan Coughlin, vice president of composites market development at American Composites Manufacturers Association.