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Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Recycling Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Recycling Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

  • April 2022
  • 134 pages
  • ID: 6249286
  • Format: PDF
  • Mordor Intelligence LLP


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The Global Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Recycling Market was accounted for 91,366.62 tons in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.34%, during the forecast period (2022-2027).

The market was negatively impacted by COVID-19 in 2020 and it recorded a positive growth rate in 2021 due to increased usage of recycled fiber plastic composites in various end-user industries, such as automotive, building and construction, and others.

Key Highlights
Over the medium term, the growing accumulation of composite waste, stringent regulations on the disposal of composites in Europe, and new strategies for promoting the reuse of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) are expected to drive the market’s growth.
On the flipside, difficulties faced during the recycling process, lack of proper recycling techniques for CFRP, and long service life of CFRP, resulting in the limited composite waste availability, are expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
Continuous development in the field of recycling composites is likely to act as an opportunity for the studied market.
The incineration and co-incineration recycling technique is expected to dominate the global fiber-reinforced plastic recycling market over the forecast period.
Europe region dominated the studied market, however, Asia-Pacific region is likley to witness a highest CAGR during the forecast period.

Key Market Trends

Incineration and Co-incineration Recycling Technique to Dominate the Market

Incineration and co-incineration is the largest segment in terms of recycling techniques. The co-incineration technique dominated the segment, owing to its growing usage in Glass Fiber-reinforced Plastic (GFRP) recycling.
Incineration is a thermal technique that permits energy to be recovered from waste combustion heat. Heat can be directly utilized or turned into electricity. The air pollution caused by the combustion of FRP scrap is a disadvantage of this technology. The fiber and ash by-product of the combustion (incineration) process is a significant disadvantage as the material would still wind up as landfill debris, with the ash having the potential to become hazardous waste based on chemical analysis.
Furthermore, while converting heat to electricity, only a 35 percent efficiency rate is achievable. The fibers are not recovered and have a significant negative impact on the environment, as well as a financial loss due to the failure to utilize the precious fibers. Scarp and End of Life Carbon Fiber-reinforced Plastic (CFRP) and Glass Fiber-reinforced Plastic (GFRP) are currently largely destined for landfill or incineration, as these are the processes used by traditional waste disposal businesses.
The cost of FRP incineration is more compared to landfilling, as both the high calorific content and toxic emissions tend to overload the system. Furthermore, it is not useful for large parts and glass fiber residue, as it can cause process stoppages.
Incase of GFRP incineration, about 50-70% of the residue material is mineral and is left as ash, which needs to be landfilled. Owing to the environmental issues, legislative limitations associated with landfilling and incinerating FRP waste, and increasing costs, the usage of and demand for the process are likely to witness negative impact in the coming years.
Co-incineration, on the other hand, provides for both material and energy recovery. In co-incineration technique, cement kilns are used for recycling. It is a better, cost-effective option for GFRP waste and offers combined material and energy recovering.
In this process, the size-reduced GFRP waste is fed into cement kiln as raw material to produce cement clinker and as secondary fuel. The resin burns in the kiln providing energy and the mineral constituent turns into calcium oxide (primary component of Portland cement), which acts as a feedstock for the cement clinker. Thus, there is no residue left at the end for GFRP recycling.
However, waste disposal firms have recently changed to complete fiber recovery methods such as thermal, chemical and other processes, considering problems caused by incineration and co-incineration such as climate change, global warming, and a sustainable alternative and circular economy. This shift is taking place as a result of the significant contribution of studies focusing on the recycling of CFRP and GFRP trash.
Neocomp GmbH, the largest recycler across the world, uses the co-incineration technique to recycle GFRP waste.
Therefore, the aforementioned factors are likely to have an impact on the demand for incineration and co-incineration processes in the future.

Europe Region to Dominate the Market

Europe region is expected to dominate the global market, owing to the increasing demand from major countries like Germany, Italy, and United Kingdom, among others.
In the European countries, including Germany, landfilling is prohibited, and the adoption of recycled plastics/composites is gaining momentum. The use of such recycled FRPs may majorly be found in the construction, aerospace, and wind power industries.
Wind energy is rapidly becoming Germany’s most important energy source, and it is a critical component of countries’ global energy transition plans. However, researchers and industry are calling for a more coherent and integrated system of sourcing and recycling procedures to ensure a reliable supply of input materials for their construction and prevent the technology’s rapid growth in the context of climate action targets from creating a slew of new environmental challenges.
Recycled FRPs find applications in windmill blades. Wind power is one of the most important drivers of Germany’s transition to renewable energy. The biggest number of decommissioned blades is expected to be found in Germany and Spain, followed by Denmark. Lufthansa permanently decommissioned more than 40 aircraft and axed its Germanwings low-cost arm.
Wind Europe has advocated for a waste ban on obsolete wind turbine blades throughout Europe by 2025. The wind business in Europe is aggressively committed to reusing, recycling, or recovering 100% of decommissioned blades. This follows the announcement of ambitious blade recycling and recovery plans by numerous industry-leading companies. A landfill ban may hasten the development of environmentally friendly recycling technology.
Furthermore, Italy is active in the FRP recycling market, as it has an established pilot plant for this activity, and the other major plants are shifting toward commercialization. Karborek Recycling Carbon Fibers is a pioneer in Italy and specializes in recycling and recovering carbon fibers. The company’s recycled products are majorly used in the aerospace, automotive, industrial, military, and sports industries.
Aeolia Windtech, Aira, Ergowind, IWT, and RG Wind are some wind turbine manufacturers in Italy. According to the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, in Italy, projected onshore wind turbine decommissioning is about 8 GW by 2050. These rising decommissions of wind turbines increase the amount of FRP waste from the wind sector.
Moreover, in United Kingdom, recycling glass-reinforced polymer (GRP) composites are done at a very low scale in the country, most of which is in-house activity production volume. The construction and wind energy sectors dominate the usage of recycled FRPs in the country.
Glass fiber-reinforced plastic (GFRP) contributes to 6,200 metric ton of production waste in the country. With so much FRP waste currently going to landfills, recycling solutions for composites is necessary.
Landfilling in the country stands at around 35% for carbon fiber and 67% for glass fiber, with only 20% of carbon fiber and 13% of glass fiber being recycled and only a small amount of that being reused, i.e., 2% for carbon fiber and 6% for glass fiber.
According to the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, in the United Kingdom, projected offshore wind turbine decommissioning is 19 GW, and projected onshore wind turbine decommissioning is about 25 GW by 2050. These rising decommissions of wind turbines increase the amount of FRP waste from the wind sector.
All the above mentioned factors are likely to significantly impact the demand for studied market, through the years to come.

Competitive Landscape

Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Recycling Market is highly fragmented in nature. The major recycling companies partner with the composites and OEM manufacturers to collect the waste and recycle it. Some of the major recycling companies (not in a particular order) include Toray Industries Inc., Vartega Inc., Gen 2 Carbon Limited, Ucomposites AS, and Carbon Conversions, among others.

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