Recovery of thermoset compounds

The European Bizente project is working on the development of a technology to reduce the generation of plastic waste in sectors such as aeronautics, automotive, rail, construction or energy, intensive in the use of composites.

Decompose part of the plastic waste from thermosetting composite materials that have exhausted their useful life cycle and reduce their emission to the environment by up to 40% through enzymes to obtain recovered products, achieving an efficient and sustainable process. This is the main objective of Bizente, a pioneering project coordinated by the Aragonese technological center Aitiip.

The Bizente project responds to the sustainability and circular economy challenges that the European Union must face. Currently, there is no definitive solution to recover thermoset composites; They are stored in landfills pending a response that allows their recovery or are destined for incineration, which generates a corresponding negative footprint on the environment and harmful effects on public health.

Thus, in the aeronautical sector alone there are more than 12,000 aircraft about to be discontinued after having exhausted their life cycle, containing between 20% and 40% composites, an amount that is found in more recently manufactured aircraft it reaches 70%. This problem is repeated in other sectors such as railways, construction, automotive, energy, electronics or sports equipment.

This is the first project funded by the European Union that uses enzymatic technology to work composite materials once they have reached the end of their useful life. Bizente’s technology achieves the controlled biodegradation of thermosetting composite materials through the use of enzymes (organic molecules capable of triggering chemical reactions), a novel solution that involves expanding the biocatalytic process to a new type of raw material, three thermosetting resins (epoxy, polyester and vinyl ester) that have not been previously addressed in the plastics value chain.

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