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ECOBULK

ECOBULK is a demonstration project, that aims to show how to “close the loop” of composite products in the automotive, furniture and building sectors. The project will take an integral system approach that will address the different stages of the circular lifecycle and provide solutions that fit well together and can complete the model for real life applications.

New design and manufacturing processes will be explored which will make it easier not only to recycle, but also to refurbish and reconfigure products to extend their lifecycle before they enter the recycling stage. The project will be using case studies from the car industry, furniture industry and construction industry to develop these new concepts, but they will also be applicable to other sectors of the economy since they will be tackling some common problems across all sectors.

The ECOBULK Circular Model in Stages

Materials

ECOBULK will continue to refine the use of industry standard pultrusion, compounding and agglomeration techniques to produce high quality materials from recycled composite sources. Innovative material pre-treatments will improve the quality and properties of the resulting materials.

Recycling

The new model will provide means to collect and sort both circular and existing linear materials as sources for rema-nufacturing. Automated sorting technologies will provide for optimal purity and efficiency. Post-shredding treatments will further purify and ensure the required material qualities for remanufacture.

Logistics

New product labelling and tracking systems will be deployed and combined with a platform connecting end-users with stakeholders to facilitate the flow of information, products and materials through the product lifecycle, thus enabling optimal reuse and recycling.

The ECOBULK Circular Economy in Stages

Product Design

A circular design framework will be established to promote the reuse, refurbishment and recycling of composite products. This, paired with a Circularity Indicator and Materials Database, will help designers to make balanced choices. ECOBULK will produce prototypes for each target sector that will demonstrate how ease of refurbishment and service can allow high recovery of functionality and value.

(Re)Manufacturing

Common manufacturing techniques including injection molding/compression and extrusion will be adapted and improved to suit the use of highly recycled materials. A Quality Assurance System will be used as a feedback loop to a Decision Support System to be used at the design phase.

Business Models

Circular economy models require new approaches to thedelivery and use of products. Incentives will be explored that enable the change in behavior that is required to achieve longer and repeatable life-cycles.

Large Scale Demonstrations

The main aim of ECOBULK demonstrations is to present the Circular Designed solutions for the three large impact industries (automotive, furniture, building components); considering manufacturing and (re)-manufacturing (using recovered materials) of up-scaled products using well-established manufacturing technologies (injection/compression moulding, extrusion, airlay) and implementing the Designed Circular framework developed by the ECOBULK project partners.

Map of ECOBULK demonstrations

Case Studies

The case studies will involve examples from 3 different industries, each of which will have a real life demonstrator.

1. Auto industry - new designs and materials for Internal car parts will be demonstrated through three showcases in actual and simulated environments (as usually done in the car industry): MicroCab H2EV Model in TechnoCentre Coventry University (UK), Fiat Model in CFRiat (Italy), MAIER’s automotive OEM car model (Spain).

2. Construction - new materials and processes will be showcased to build small structures out of wood plastic composites, including temporary housing, decking and fencing. Demostrators will include  new service houses for the new Kymring for motorsport center.

3. Furniture - new designs and concepts for office and laboratory furniture will be demonstrated at the Technical University Delft, Cranfield University and Warwickshire Town Hall. 

Case Studies - Automotive

While the European automotive manufactures have significantly reduced the environmental impact of vehicle production over the last decade there is still more to be done in terms of enabling circular product options for re-use, upgrading, refurbishment, recovery and recycling.

Microcab Frankfurt Auto Show

New designs and materials for internal car parts will be demonstrated through three showcases in actual and simulated environments (as usually done in the car industry) by the following ECOBULK partners:

• MicroCab H2EV Model in TechnoCentre Coventry University (UK),
• Fiat Model in CFRiat (Italy) and
• MAIER’s automotive OEM car model (Spain).

Case Studies - Construction

Waste originating from construction and demolition represents one of the highest volumes of waste in Europe. One ton of construction and demolition waste is produced per person per year – i.e. 500 million tonnes in the whole EU every year. (Source)

New materials and processes will be showcased to build small structures out of wood plastic composites, including temporary housing, decking and fencing.

Kymiring Motorsport Park

The new KymiRing motorsport park in Finland will feature some specially designed service houses.

Case Studies - Furniture

According to the European Environmental Bureau, 10 million tonnes of furniture are discarded by businesses and consumers in EU Member States each year, the majority of which is destined for either landfill or incineration (Source).

New designs and concepts for office and laboratory furniture will be demonstrated at the Technical University Delft, Cranfield University, Warwickshire Town Hall and the LIPOR offices. 

TU Delft (NL) -  Faculty of Applied Physics 

TU Delft Faculty of Applied Physics

This new building in the main campus of the university will include high-tech laboratories, lectures rooms and offices for Chemical Technology, Biotechnology and Bionanotechnology fields. Sepcially designed ECOBULK furniture demonstrators such as expo booth shelves, lab cabinetry and, All-in-One library furniture will be showcased inside.

Cranfield university (UK) - Aerospace Integration Research Centre

Cranfield Aerospace Integration Research Center

While currently under construction, furniture demonstrators such as expo booth shelves, lab cabinets and, all-in-one library furniture will be showcased when construction is finished.

LIPOR (POR) - Office Building

LIPOR Offices

The LIPOR offices will again host a number of the new furniture concepts and designs the ECOBULK will produce to demonstrate the new model. 

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