Today, composites are mostly manufactured with synthetic raw materials like carbon or glass fibres. This is because such materials display very good mechanical properties and can be used in structural and technical parts like for the aerospace market for example. The problem is that 80% of virgin carbon and glass fibre manufacturing is done outside of Europe and in the few cases when it is done in Europe, the technologies are often licensed from foreign countries.
One of the MC4 goals is for Europe to produce its own raw materials feedstock by recycling the already existing composites at the end of their lives. By recycling them, manufacturers will obtain carbon and glass fibres to be reused in accordance with their technical properties, and will no longer only rely on non-European suppliers. This will allow Europe to have a higher raw material and technological independence with the relocalization of the value chain.
The importance to produce our own feedstock is growing more and more as the years pass because of the different world crisis. The COVID 19 pandemic deeply disrupted global value chains, causing distress in raw materials supply. This resulted in economic difficulties for composites manufacturer in Europe, among others. More recently, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine also impacted the importation of raw materials. This is why, to mitigate the risk of being affected by global crisis, it is necessary to become more independent regarding the whole value chain of the composites manufacturing.
As equally important as the European independence, the final goal will also be to avoid the landfilling and burning of composites at the end of their lives as today it is the case for 98% of them