BMW closes the carbon fiber loop

Kerri Jansen
PLASTICS NEWS
and David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: August 18, 2014 10:43 am ET
Updated: August 18, 2014 10:47 am ET

Image By: BMW AG BMW uses recycled carbon fiber in the roof and rear seat shells on the i3 electric car.

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Sustainability, Recycling
Companies & Associations BMW AG

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. — BMW’s extensive use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic in its i-series vehicles has prompted the development of ways to recycle unused material. BMW’s all-electric i3 and the hybrid i8 represent the first mass-production vehicles with carbon fiber-intensive construction. As the market for carbon fiber grows, so does a need to cut costs, including reclaiming and reusing leftover portions of the valuable material.

Franz Storkenmaier, head of lightweight construction and vehicle weight at BMW AG, discussed the Munich, Germany-based automaker’s CF recycling efforts in a presentation at the Center for Automotive Research’s Automotive Briefing Seminars.

“The application of carbon fiber is well understood. The challenge is to industrialize that and make it economic,” he said.

BMW uses recycled CF in the epoxide resin-based CF reinforced plastic roof of the i3 and i8, as well as the i3’s rear seat shell, which is molded with non-woven recycled CF and polyurethane.

BMW’s carbon fiber materials are produced by SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, a joint venture between BMW Group and SGL Group. Their U.S. manufacturing facility is located in Moses Lake, Wash.

SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers recently talked with Plastics News sister publication European Plastics News about producing oriented (anisotropic) and isotropic non-woven fleece materials from CFRP waste materials. SGL ACF described its recycled CF yarns as “stretch-broken” with “special properties” such as high tensile strength and low yarn count, which apparently makes them especially suitable for processing into textile fabrics. CF non-woven fleeces were developed over a three-year period together with the TITK Thuringia institute for textile and plastics research, based in Rudolstadt, Germany.

Vink is a correspondent for European Plastics News.


Comments

BMW closes the carbon fiber loop

Kerri Jansen
PLASTICS NEWS
and David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: August 18, 2014 10:43 am ET
Updated: August 18, 2014 10:47 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Dunkin' Donuts looking at PP to replace foam cups

September 19, 2014 3:22 pm ET

Dunkin' Donuts is testing a new polypropylene coffee cup that the company believes could help boost recycling.    More

Image

Plasan investing in capacity, jobs to supply auto market with carbon fiber

September 19, 2014 3:05 pm ET

Growth in the emerging automotive market for carbon-fiber composites has spurred a $29 million investment in a Walker, Mich., factory    More

Image

Toyoda Gosei expanding in Mexico

September 19, 2014 2:33 pm ET

Toyoda Gosei North America Corp. is investing $67 million in a 398,000-square-foot plant in central Mexico to supply the automotive industry with...    More

Exo-s buys injection and blow molder in Mexico, expands footprint

September 19, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Custom molder Exo-s Inc. has bought an injection and blow molding operation in San Juan del Rio, Querétaro, Mexico.    More

Image

Study: 75 percent of Australia's ocean debris is plastic

September 18, 2014 7:48 pm ET

About 75 percent of the trash found in the waters off Australia's beaches is plastic, with most of that coming from local sources rather than sea-born...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events