Italy’s first composite recycling plant planned by Boeing
Agreement establishes framework for recycling aircraft
composite waste into reusable materials
The Boeing Company and Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica
company, are joining forces to help establish Italy’s
first composite recycling facility, which will be located
in Southern Italy.
Together with partners Milled Carbon (based in Birmingham,
United Kingdom), Karborek (based in Puglia, Italy), and
ENEA (Italian National Agency for new Technologies Energy
and the Environment), the two companies have signed a
letter of intent to apply their expertise and work with
academia to advance industry knowledge surrounding the
recycling of composite airplane parts into reusable materials
for manufacturing. Financial terms were not announced.
The composite recycling facility, which is expected to
be operational in mid to late 2009, will be in Italy’s
Puglia region, near the Alenia Aeronautica manufacturing
center and its supply chain production centers. When
fully operational, the center is expected to process
an average of 1,000 metric tons (1,102 tons) of composite
scrap annually and add approximately 75 jobs to the regional
Boeing, which is pioneering the use of composites as
the primary structure on the 787 Dreamliner, and Alenia,
a major 787 partner, will support the project by partnering
to advance associated knowledge and technologies and
reuse of recycled aircraft parts and manufacturing materials.
Both companies will work together to process carbon fiber
scrap material from all of the Alenia facilities and
related supply chain facilities. Over the longer term,
Boeing and Alenia will work closely with Italian industry
and academia to develop additional markets for the reuse
of the carbon fiber, which could include automotive,
civil engineering, sporting goods, nautical and other
industrial applications in Italy and across Europe.
Working collaboratively with Boeing, Milled Carbon has
demonstrated the ability, in a pilot industrial plant,
to process cured and uncured composite parts on a continual
feed that extracts high-quality carbon fibers. The recycled
material potentially can be used for noncritical structures
such as interior linings, galley and seat parts and tools
that can benefit from stronger, lighter-weight materials.
ENEA, the Italian Research Institute, has long worked
with Karborek to develop recycling process technologies
for the recovery of carbon and glass fiber from composite
materials. ENEA and Karborek have separately developed
prototypes of complementary technology.
Boeing and Milled Carbon are both members of the Aircraft
Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), an international
nonprofit organization dedicated to developing best practices
for the recycling of end-of-service aircraft and parts.
The new joint venture is also anticipated to become an
AFRA member and ultimately bolster the organization’s
capabilities in the area of composite recycling.
Karborek, located in Lecce, is teaming with Milled Carbon
with regards to the building and operation of the composite