Sustainable composites

High performing, lightweight, long-life and recyclable products to reduce carbon emissions

Accelerating the development of net-zero impact composites, processes and technologies

Composites have proved highly effective and durable in applications such as aircraft, cars, ships and wind turbines, while their inherently lightweight nature can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

However, more than 95% of these multi-component materials are made from fossil-derived oil and gas. At the same time, the majority go to waste when they reach the end of their useful life. Only 15% of the 110,000 tonnes of composites produced annually in the UK are likely to be reused or recycled. 

Key Facts

Composite materials like carbon fiber are used in products such as vehicles and sustainable energy technologies
Most of these materials cannot currently be recycled or reused
Innovating around the materials and their recyclability will lead the way toward a waste-free composites industry

CPI is collaborating to navigate this challenge through its partnership with the National Composites Centre, developing a circular future for composites, and establishing the UK as a sustainable composites market leader. In particular, we're focusing on partnering with innovators to create renewable, bio-derived materials that can be more readily separated, purified and given a second lease of life in new products. Importantly, we make sure that any alternative materials offer the same high level of performance. We're also exploring best practice in the clean manufacturing of composites.

CPI is investigating optimal processes to disassemble, reuse or recycle conventionally produced legacy composites. This will be fundamental to expanding the UK's recycling capacity for composite materials and preventing waste. 

How we can help

Our teams can work with you to enhance the performance of your products, to help you overcome sustainability challenges to manufacture your product.

Nanomaterials

Colloid Science

Polymer processing and composites

Material and Formulation Optimisation

Automated Experimentation

Modelling, Informatics and Data Science

Powder Technology and Processing

Process Optimisation and Scale-up