wind turbine blade

Finnish composite waste recycling was discussed in KiMuRa seminar on 4 April

Composites are light and durable which makes them convenient to use in various applications. However, recycling of composites has been so far rather difficult. In Finland, KiMuRa project took up this challenge. The project ended at the end of 2022 and its results were discussed in Hämeenlinna on 4 April 2023.

The approach developed in the KiMuRa project has since been established as a standard recycling solution for composites in Finland. Pirjo Pietikäinen from the Composites section of the Finnish Plastics Industries Federation led the audience to the basics of the theme. The project partners included many actors along the value chain, from the composite producers to Kuusakoski, for collecting and crushing the composites and Finnsementti as the end user of the material.

Since the project proved to be successful, Kuusakoski has decided to invest in a new crusher. Anu Söderena told the audience about the new equipment. It will be installed to Hyvinkää plant and is going to be functional in the fall of 2024.

The key for efficient recycling is maximum utilization of material. Ursula Kääntee from Finnsementti shed light upon what happens during the production of the clinker when using co-processing. During  the raw material and the fuel stem from the same source, in this case the composites. Composites replace calcium carbonate in the process, and this helps to reduce the CO2 emissions of the clinker production.

The critical part of the process is obviously the collection of the raw material. And since most of the raw material comes from the producers of composites, it is essential to make sure it is collected separately from other production waste streams. Additionally, KiMuRa project developed guidelines for collecting the waste from composite production. Sari Jussila from Patria explained how the guidelines have been put to use in their organisation. Other examples of recyclable composites were presented by Finnboat and Suomen Hyötytuuli.

Other topics in the seminar were about the changing legislation and overall sustainability of composite production. In his closing speech, Mika Mustakallio from Patria discussed potential new routes for composite recycling. The possible routes are not yet at a high enough technology readiness level, but it will be interesting to see how the processes develop.

Bulky fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) products is one of the focus areas of CLIC Innovations 4Recycling ecosystem. Read more about this area here.

KiMuRa seminar 4 April 2023
KiMuRa seminar 4 April 2023