Hexcel Corporation (NYSE: HXL) 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. As a result, it is intended that most of the carbon fiber prepreg cutoffs generated at Hexcel plants in Europe will be repurposed by the end of 2022.
Thierry Merlot, President, Aerospace – Europe, MEA/AP & Industrial at Hexcel
“With Fairmat, Hexcel has found an industrial recycling solution for the carbon fiber prepreg cutoffs generated at our European facilities. This partnership represents a significant step as we continue striving to be an industry leader and a responsible steward of resources. From lightweight composites that help reduce emissions to improving our processes to reduce our impact on the environment, Hexcel is relentless in our pursuit of innovations that will lead to a more sustainable future. So, we are delighted with this key collaboration.”
Under the partnership, Fairmat will lease a former Hexcel facility in Bouguenais (Loire-Atlantique). There 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. Thereby it gives a second life to this 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.
Fairmat Founding Chairman Benjamin Saada
“We are proud of the trust Hexcel has placed in us by signing this strategic partnership. The commercial agreement covering the first tons to be recycled in Europe will enable us to complete the industrial scale-up of our virtuous recycling technology by the end of the year. I originally founded Fairmat with a totally circular vision in mind, so it was important for me to be able to reuse an existing industrial facility to launch our production. I’m delighted that Fairmat is rapidly advancing toward its goal of giving advanced materials a second life.”
Hexcel Corporation is a leading advanced composites company. It develops, manufactures and markets lightweight, high-performance structural materials including carbon fibers, specialty reinforcements, prepregs and other fiber-reinforced matrix materials, honeycomb, adhesives, engineered core and composite structures for use in commercial aerospace, space and defense and industrial applications.
Founded in 2020 by Benjamin Saada, Fairmat is a French deep tech aiming to revolutionize the recycling of carbon fiber-based composites. Fairmat creates a more sustainable future for composites and long-term industrialization through a virtuous recycling process thanks to its disruptive technology.
Font: Hexcel’s website