Advanced Material Wins JEC for Closed-loop Recycling of Epoxy Composites

Aditya Birla Chemicals, a leading manufacturer of epoxy resins & advanced materials and COBRA International, one of the world’s largest OEM manufacturers of composite products for Water Sports, Automotive, Marine and Civil Engineering has won the 2020 JEC Innovation Award for their latest sustainability project Working in partnership with COBRA’s customers Starboard and Maui Fin Company (MFC), the joint team has successfully integrated novel recyclable epoxy resins (Aditya Birla Chemical’s proprietary Recyclamine® technology) into series production of water sports components and initiated a closed-loop process to re-use the recovered reinforcement fabrics and thermoplastic polymers produced when the epoxy composite is recycled.

This is Aditya Birla Chemicals – Advanced Material’s third JEC Innovation Award since 2012. Such a consistent recognition in the form of coveted JEC Awards demonstrates Aditya Birla Chemicals’ focus on R&D and showcases its successful track-record of developing cutting-edge solutions for composites industry.

This awarded project utilizes Aditya Birla Chemicals’ recyclable epoxy systems Epotec® YDL5552-THR9351 to infuse watersports fin moulds and the recyclable epoxy RTM system Epotec® YDL5540-THR9151 to produce components. These systems are based on Aditya Birla Chemicals’ proprietary Recyclamine® technology, which is also being used to develop systems for various other composites applications like wind blades, automotive, aerospace, sports & recreational goods, among others.

In the later part of 2019, the first moulds were made and various fins were produced according to customer designs.  Following mechanical testing to confirm comparable properties to existing parts, fins were also tested on the water by Starboard and MFC riders, ensuring the new process did not affect the boards handling or feel thereby giving a green light for series production.

COBRA has taken a massive leap forward in sustainable development through this project. Aditya Birla Chemicals has again demonstrated it firm commitment to its purpose – ‘Chemistry for a Greener World’.

On this recognition, Mr. Pradip Dubey, CEO – Advanced Material, Aditya Birla Chemicals said “Our endeavor at Aditya Birla Chemicals (Advanced Materials) has been to make meaningful contribution towards a sustainable world and to develop products and technologies which are safe as well as have lower carbon footprint for wide ranging applications.” Further, explaining Recyclamine®, he said, “Currently, the use of composites is limited to high-end applications due to cost and non-recyclability. Our unique Recyclamine® technology makes thermosets recyclable, thereby giving us ability to recover and recycle expensive reinforcing materials such as carbon fiber. This reduces emissions and makes composites affordable & adoptable to the mainstream applications like wind energy, electronics, transportation sector such as automobiles, aerospace, rail coaches, etc.”

“This is a fantastic achievement with huge potential to make more sustainable epoxy components,” comments Danu Chotikapanich, CEO, COBRA. “Building on the success of this project, COBRA and our partners are now focusing on scaling up the recycling infrastructure.  Starboard and MFC will offer recyclable epoxy fins to customers throughout 2020 and COBRA is also working on the next stages to use recyclable epoxy resins for larger components and moulds within the group”.

JEC Innovation Awards is the most sought-after and prestigious awards in the field of Composites, recognized globally and given to the best cutting-edge and ingenious projects using composites to their full potential.