EuCIA hosts seminar on sustainability for composites
The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) recently organised a seminar on sustainability for composites, on 25 October 2017, in Brussels. Sustainability as a key driver for the use of composites, and the need for life cycle assessment (LCA) methods that provide reliable, reproducible results, were highlighted during the seminar.
Composite parts are extremely durable and have a long service life combined with low maintenance requirements, and lightweight composites result in lower energy consumption throughout a product’s life. End of use solutions, including recycling, are also available. 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.
In response to the proliferation of LCA techniques and need for reproducible results, 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).
Guest speaker Michele Galatola, product team leader – DG ENV, expert LCA, at the EC, and coordinator of PEF pilot phase, presented an update on this initiative. The main deliverable of this project will be detailed rules which must be followed in order to calculate the environmental impact of a product. A list of the secondary datasets to be employed in the calculation will be included, which will be made available free of charge. Galatola reported that the technical work on this initiative is expected to conclude early in 2018, but it has yet to be decided if these rules will play a role in future legislation.
Seminar attendees also listened to presentations on topics like the environmental impact of composites over the complete life cycle of a part, and designing to minimise this; the comparison of the environmental impact of different composites recycling technologies; and the life cycle analyses for carbon composite structures in automotive, rail and aviation transportation.
An overview of EuCIA’s Eco Calculator was also provided. The online tool was developed by EuCIA for use in calculating the environmental impact of the production of composite products (from ‘cradle to gate’). (GK)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India