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‘Holistic’ Recycling of CFRP Pioneered by Germany’s Pyrum

A company specialized in end-of-life tire recycling via pyrolysis has commissioned what it claims is the first automated, semi-industrial recycling plant for carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Pyrum Innovations AG, located in Dillingen/Saar, Germany, claims it’s the first time that CFRP has been “holistically recycled worldwide.”

CFRPs are used in automotive and transportation components, including tires, as well as the building and construction and electronics sectors. This diversity of applications and increasing use of the material has prompted a conversation around its disposal, which is currently limited to landfill or incineration, said Pyrum.

Pyrum’s current holistic recycling model has a capacity of 1 kg of CFRP per hour. In addition to recovery of fibers, the recycling process also produces pyrolysis oil, which Pyrum said it already sells profitably to the chemical industry through its tire recycling activity.

Thus far, approximately €170,000 has been invested in the plant, a large part of which came from government grants. A number of other partners are involved in the so-called Infinity Project under the direction of the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite, and Processing Technology (IGCV).

Pyrum’s proprietary pyrolysis process is energy self-sufficient and, according to the Fraunhofer Institute, saves significantly more CO2 emissions than current recycling processes for end-of-life tires. It produces new raw materials such as pyrolysis oil, gas, and recovered carbon black from the waste used as input materials.

Pyrum is the first company in the end-of-life tire recycling sector to receive REACH registration from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for the pyrolysis oil it produces. This means that the oil is recognized as an official raw material that can be used in production processes. In addition, Pyrum has received ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system and ISO 9001 certification for its quality management system.

“Pyrum is committed to developing and promoting a sustainable and circular economy. In the future, we want to contribute to this not only through [end-of-life tire recycling] but also through the recycling of CFRP,” said Pyrum CEO Pascal Klein in a prepared statement. “The commissioning of the first automated, semi-industrial plant is a milestone for the recycling industry and an important step for us on our way to building the first industrial plant.”

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