Circularity of the uncircular

[Translate to English:] FiberEUse: Die wiederverwendbare Fahrzeugplattform

Vehicles nowadays are a consumable product with a lifespan of only some years. Changes in design and the limited durability of only few parts shortens the utilization to less than 200.000 km. This mileage is reached –worst case- within a short period. This is not adequate for the effort and resources needed to produce the components and generates high emissions. Reusing components can improve sustainability by creating a circular product lifecycle.

Together with 21 partners from all over Europe, EDAG has taken the challenge to form circular value chains for the most challenging material class composites. Composites consist of reinforcing fibers and a binding polymer matrix. Used parts from different industries like sports, renewable energies or housing were used to create new products enabling re- or even upcycling of the materials. EDAG together with INVENT GmbH and Fraunhofer IWU met an even more fascinating challenge. Their approach was to not only recycle the material, but to design components ready to be reused over many vehicle lives. EDAG designed a vehicle platform durable for 1 Mio. km while INVENT realized a novel accompanying seating structure. The platform is made of pultruded elements made of CFRP providing the major part of the vehicle stiffness and protecting the batteries from any influence of crashs.

Here, the specific properties of composites were exploited. Carbon fiber composites in particular show a higher durability than any other common material class while providing their high performance at a low weight. Circularity requires solutions for detachable joints. While the use of bolt joints is a perfect standard option, crash safety and comfort require adhesive connections. Thus innovative concepts to detach adhesives either by a specialized cutting process or heat inducted were examined.

The results of this outstanding project will be presented at Milano Design Week from September 5th to 10th. All use cases will be shown to demonstrate the opportunities in reusing composites. The partners welcome you at Superstudio Più with an outstanding presentation of the whole circular value chain.