EuCIA seminar focuses on sustainability

The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) reports that it recently focused on sustainability in composites as part of a Lightweight, Durable and Sustainable Composites seminar held in Brussels, Belgium, at the end of October.

According to the association, sustainability is a key driver for the use of composites, and there is a need for life cycle assessment (LCA) methods that provide reliable, reproducible results. However, LCAs which evaluate the environmental benefits of composite products throughout their life cycle are a valuable tool, but they are often complex and expensive and the results are dependent on the LCA system and the data employed, according to EuCIA.

As a result, the European Commission (EC) is currently working on a method to enable the quantitative assessment of the environmental impacts of products throughout their life cycle – the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). Michele Galatola, product team leader – DG ENV, Expert LCA, at the EC, and coordinator of PEF pilot phase, presented an update on this initiative at the seminar and suggested that main deliverable of this project should be detailed rules which must be followed in order to calculate the environmental impact of a product.

Seminar attendees also listened to presentations on topics including:

  • The environmental impact of composites over the complete life cycle of a part, and designing to minimise this
  • Comparison of the environmental impact of different composites recycling technologies
  • Life cycle analyses for carbon composite structures in automotive, rail and aviation transportation.

An overview of EuCIA’s Eco Calculator was also provided. This online tool was developed by EuCIA for use in calculating the environmental impact of the production of composite products.

‘Promoting the sustainability of composites is a long term strategy for EuCIA,’ said Roberto Frassine, president of EuCIA. ‘Three years ago we started an ambitious project of building an Eco Calculator. This has now been available for one year and is free of charge to the industry. We are about to launch further projects, including a survey on composites recycling strategies that are used around the world. We strongly believe that sustainability and the circular economy are key to the future development of the composites industry.’

A video of the Lightweight, Durable and Sustainable Composites seminar is available online. It is free to view for members of EuCIA member associations, and €50 for non-members. Register here.

This story is reprinted from material from EuCIAwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.