Hexcel Corporation and Fairmat, a deep technology startup based in France, have announced an agreement to build the capability to recycle carbon fiber prepreg from Hexcel European operations for reuse in composite panels sold into commercial markets.
Under the partnership, Fairmat will lease a former Hexcel facility in Bouguenais (Loire-Atlantique) where it will recycle cutoffs generated during carbon fiber prepreg production at Hexcel European plants. Hexcel expects most of its carbon fiber prepreg cutoffs in Europe will be recycled as part of this partnership by the end of 2022. Fairmat will begin to set up the new site in early 2022 with production scheduled to start in March 2022.
Fairmat has developed a virtuous recycling process capable of circularizing the manufacture of carbon fiber composite materials, giving a second life to the high value-added material. Carbon fiber and resins are mainly cold treated, leading to reduced energy costs and avoiding traditional landfill or incineration solutions. Fairmat’s clean recycling process is expected to save 41 kg of CO2 emissions per kilogram of recycled carbon fiber composite compared to virgin prepregs. Fairmat is aiming for a capacity of 5,000 tons of recycled material annually in this first production site.