Leonardo’s aerostructures division is to collaborate with Italian industrial firm Gruppo Hera on joint research into the recovery of carbonfibre material from composite aircraft parts.
Working with its partner’s Herambiente subsidiary, the aerostructures business – which builds carbonfibre fuselage barrels for the Boeing 787 programme – sees the initiative as offering “positive spin-offs for sustainability and circularity”.
Full-scale testing of the recovery process will take place at Herambiente’s plant in Imola in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. Leonardo says the carbonfibre recycling will “permit its reuse as a secondary raw material”. Performance of fibres following processing will be “comparable to new”, it says.
Leonardo says the agreement is “strategically significant” as Europe “is very much lacking” in the production capability for new carbonfibre material.
“Developing supply chains capable of regenerating valuable resources locally will help support the process of European industrial self-sufficiency,” it states.