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Initial objective is application in the Chery eQ1 electric vehicle; potential for establishing carbon fiber recycling operation in China

Stephen Moore

February 15, 2017

3 Min Read
UK, China firms to cooperate in recycled carbon fiber for automotive applications

ELG Carbon Fiber Ltd (Coseley, UK) and Adesso Advanced Materials Wuhu Co. Limited (Wuhu, China) have concluded a memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation to develop light weight composite components for the automotive industry based on ELG’s recycled carbon fiber materials. The initial focus of the cooperation is to investigate applications which have been identified by Chery New Energy Automobile Technology Co. Ltd (Wuhu, China) on the Chery eQ1 electric vehicle.

Among ELG’s products are Carbiso M and Carbiso TM isotropic mats. These easy-to-handle, drapeable mats are compatible with most thermoset and thermoplastic polymers and deliver excellent mechanical properties. Carbiso M mats are produced from 100% recycled carbon fiber and can be processed by conventional composite techniques to manufacture structural and semi structural parts. Carbiso TM products are hybrid mats produced from recycled fibers and comingled with thermoplastic matrixes for press molding applications.

Chinese automaker views recycled carbon fiber as potentially cost-effective lightweighting route for electric vehicles.

The goal is to further reduce the weight of the eQ1, which already makes extensive use of aluminum technology, through selective use of carbon fiber composites. The longer-term intent is to then apply the knowledge gained from these projects in Chery’s conventional vehicles.

Following initial evaluation of ELG’s materials by Professor Fan Guanghong’s team at Advanced Manufacture Technology Center of China Academy of Machinery Science Technology (CAMTC), Chery has suggested initial applications to be investigated, and if technical and commercial targets are achieved, ELG, Adesso and Chery intend to enter a definite agreement to start full-scale production of these parts in Wuhu. This agreement would see ELG Carbon Fiber establish a carbon fiber recycling operation in China when sufficient volumes of recycled carbon fiber materials are required.

Frazer Barnes, Managing Director of ELG Carbon Fiber said: “The eQ1, through its extensive use of aluminum, already represents a huge step forward in lightweighting for the Chinese car industry. We are pleased to be working with the innovative engineering team at Adesso and Chery to help them take the next step forward, and start introducing carbon fiber composites into their vehicles”.

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Dr. Bo Liang, President, Chairman and CEO of Adesso, said: “Working together in this project enables us to address the barriers preventing large-scale [adoption] of carbon fiber composites in automotive applications-namely cost, using recycled materials, and design and manufacturing, through cooperation with experienced partners. Our vision is that cooperation leads to an automotive composites hub in Wuhu. It also strengthens our vision on sustainability of the composite industry in China.”

Gao Lixin, Deputy General Manager of Chery Automobile Co. Ltd and General Manager of Chery New Energy Automobile Technology Co. Ltd., said: “There is a strong need to reduce the weight of both new energy and conventional vehicles, to meet environmental and performance targets. We believe carbon fiber composites have an important role to play in this, and believe that through our cooperation with ELG and Adesso on the eQ1 project we will gain a significant learning curve advantage that we can then use in our conventional vehicles.”

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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