BMW and Boeing team up to explore carbon fibre recycling

BMW Group and Boeing have entered into a strategic partnership to research the potential of carbon fibre recycling as both companies look to pioneer use of the material in their products.

Under the agreement, both will share manufacturing knowledge such as process simulations for carbon fibre and explore automation opportunities for its production.

Recycling composite material at point of use and at the end of product life is essential to both companies as they look to release new developments onto the market.

Next year BMW plans to launch two vehicles with a carbon passenger cell for the first time, the BMW i3 and i8. Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner meanwhile is made up of 50% carbon fibre material.

According to Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice president of product development, Larry Schneider, planning for end-of-life recovery through closed loop models for these products is essential.

“We want to look at ways to reclaim and reuse those materials to make new products. Our work with the BMW Group will help us attain that goal,” he said.

BMW has already built a state-of-the-art carbon fibre plant in Washington, US, to automate the production of ultra-light carbon fibre reinforced plastics for use in future vehicle concepts.

Herbert Diess who sits on the company’s development board added that the partnership will enable both companies to “merge know-how” in the field of sustainable production.

Maxine Perella

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