The ESTELLA consortium held its First General Assembly on the 7th and 8th of February in León (Spain). The aim of this meeting was to review the current status of all the tasks carried out during the project and to present the next steps.
The main objective of the ESTELLA project is to increase the sustainability of thermosetting epoxy composites by acting on the whole value chain of the materials, starting from the design stage through the introduction of CAN bonds in both fossil- and bio-based matrices and fibres. Ultimately this will enable their recycling, while redefining all manufacturing and recycling processes involved, ensuring the maximal recovery rate of its components, and strengthening the environmental and economical dimensions of thermosetting composites value chain.
In this first phase of the project, two main tasks are being carried out: the development of raw materials and the investigation of microorganisms capable of degrading the developed composite. On the one hand, raw material developers are engaged in polymer design and functionalisation and fibres in order to be able to start manufacturing the tailor-made biocomposites in the coming year. On the other hand, microorganism researchers are evaluating the different species that appear in cultures made from commercial epoxy resins.
CIDAUT continues to advance in the development of thermoset composite materials with improved recyclability properties that can be used in applications that require high performance materials (construction, aeronautics and automotive) in the framework of the European project r-LightBioCom, which has just been launched.
r-LightBioCom’s main objective is to reduce environmental impact of the new lightweight HPC, not only during their production but also during their operational life and after achieving their final lifetime (inherent recyclability properties), while providing improved mechanical properties, weight reduction and new functionalities.
This project, funded by the European Commission, is part of the Horizon Europe programme, one of the most competitive and prestigious calls for proposals at European level, which exclusively promotes projects with great excellence. It has a budget of 4.2 million euros and is made up of 15 multidisciplinary partners.
The consortium is coordinated by the Textile and Cosmetics Research and Innovation Centre (Aitex) and Cidaut leads and coordinates two important tasks. The first is dedicated to the processing of the new materials developed to obtain composites using novel and environmentally friendly technologies. The second is the analysis of the life cycle of the materials and processes that will allow validation of their environmental viability.
The project has already held its kick-off meeting in Alicante (Spain) on 30th and 31st January.
For CIDAUT it is great news that a new European R&D project has been awarded in one of the most competitive and highest level calls for proposals, Horizon Europe. This consolidates us as an international benchmark in the field of recycling complex plastic materials, such as fibre-reinforced composites, as well as in the development of more sustainable solutions. This is a very important line of work at a time when administrations, companies and society are demanding plastic materials with a lower environmental impact.
On the 27th of September, the Circular Economy Forum: Challenge of plastic recycling organized by the Institute for the Business Competitiveness of Castilla y León (ICE) in collaboration with the Cidaut Foundation was celebratedin the facilities of the Cidaut Foundation. This Forum was inaugurated by the Councillor for Economy and Finance of the Region of Castilla y León (Spain), Mr. Carlos Javier Fernández Carriedo, and the president of Cidaut Foundation, Mr. José Oliveri Gandarillas, who highlighted the importance of the transition towards a productive model of circular economy in the plastic sector.
With the aim of incorporating the circular economy as a key element to promote the change towards a model of sustainable development and focused on plastic materials in particular, the Forum addressed this aspect from a double point of view: first, trends in R&D related to the recycling of plastics was analyzed, and on the other hand, the latest developments in the regulatory context were addressed. This Circular Economy Forum had the following talks:
– ‘Future trends and challenges to optimize the quality of plastic recycling and its circularity’ presented by researchers from CIB-CSIC and ICTP-CSIC.
– ‘Panel Discussion: R&D as a key in the transition to the circular economy’ moderated by CyLTV and composed of the four partners of the Osiris Network -GAIKER, AIMPLAS, AITEX and CIDAUT- and the University of Valladolid (CELLMAT laboratory).
– ‘The new regulations: Challenges and solutions for the Circular Economy’ presented by CICLOPLAST.
– ‘Panel Discussion: Challenges and Opportunities for the different sectors in the new scenario of the recycling and circularity’ moderated by ECOEMBES and composed by the representatives of the following companies: Viscofan, SABIC, SOSTENPLAS and Grupo Antolin.
– ‘Case of successes’ presented by Mr. Antón Fernández, CEO of PolyNext-Naeco.
– ‘Roadmap for the Circular Economy in Castilla y León’ presented by the Natural Heritage Foundation of Castilla y León.
Finally, the event was closed by the Director of Cidaut Foundation, Mr. Juan Carlos Merino Senovilla, and after that the attendees were able to visit the facilities of Cidaut Foundation.
Last July 5th, the ESTELLA consortium met in Brussels to kick-off the project. All partners presented their role and they discussed the details of the implementation of the work plan for the following 42 months of research.
The ESTELLA is an ambitious initiative that proposes an innovative solution to improve the recyclability of poorly recyclable materials, specifically thermoset composites. This will involve the design of novel thermosetting biocomposites (epoxy and natural fibres) with inherent recyclability. This will be achieved thanks to the introduction of the Covalent Adaptive Network (CAN) that will allow the resin (reprocessed or repolymerised into new products) and fibres to be recycled. The recyclability of the composites developed will be evaluated by means of current mechanical, chemical and biological processes adapted to these new materials. And they will be validated through the manufacture of prototypes for the construction and leisure/mobility sectors.
The ESTELLA consortium has 13 partners from 9 European countries as well as Slovenia, Poland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Denmark, Germany and Norway. Soon our project website will be up and running!
The CREATOR consortium, consisting of 17 partners, met in Belgium last September with the Project Officer to analyze the progress of the project. CREATOR focuses on the development and demonstration of processes to remove hazardous bromine-containing flame retardants, which are already banned, from waste streams by means of so-called continuous extraction.
A lot of efforts have been devoted in the CREATOR project to the recycling and reuse of thermoplastic waste. And the review meeting was a good occasion to show the current status of all tasks performed during the project and to present the next steps until the end of the project in May 2022.
In the CREATOR project, much effort has been devoted to the recycling and reuse of these hazardous thermoplastic wastes. And the review meeting was a good occasion to show all the achievements made during the project and to present the next steps until the end of the project in May 2022.