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GREEN ISSUES

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20 Jun 11. GKN Aerospace has signed an agreement this week with Recycled Carbon Fibre Ltd (RCF) Birmingham, UK, to recycle the uncured carbon waste from its aerostructure manufacturing operation in Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. Recycling will take place at RCF’s innovative carbon recycling facility in the West Midlands. GKN Aerospace estimates that approaching 100 metric tonnes of carbon waste from the Cowes site will be recycled in the next 12 months as part of this cost neutral agreement. The recycled material will be used in a wide variety of products including paints and coatings, thermoplastic polymers, composite tooling and deep sea buoyancy products. In the coming 5 years, as the GKN Aerospace operation at Cowes sees existing orders reach full production levels, there is predicted to be a 30% rise in the quantity of waste for recycling from this site alone.
Rich Oldfield, Director of Technology, GKN Aerospace explains: “Our composite research facility has been working with RCF for some time and our aim now is to commence a programme that will ultimately establish recycling as an integral part of our full production manufacturing process in the UK, and globally.
With the global market for aircraft predicted to grow and ambitious targets set for C02 emissions and noise reduction, the performance benefits gained from using composite structures in many areas of the airframe and engine have become critical. This is clearly reflected in the growth in the percentage of composite structure in the latest generation of aircraft – which has reached some 50% by weight.
Oldfield continues: “To balance the performance and environmental gains achieved through using composites in aircraft operations it is vital the industry progresses towards greener manufacture on a number of fronts and we believe an effective recycling process is at the heart of that progression.”
Steve Line, Managing Director of RCF added: “Until now, the only solutions for disposing of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) waste have been landfill or incineration, both of which are harmful to the environment. The unique RCF process allows GKN Aerospace to act in an environmentally friendly way. From RCF’s point of view, the GKN Aerospace waste will be an important part of our feedstock supply in the coming years. ”

27 May 11. Powering troop deployments from rubbish. The Minister for Defence Science & Personnel, Warren Snowdon, says the energy requirements for future troop deployments could be powered by rubbish.
“The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and Melbourne based HRL Technology are developing a deployable Waste To Energy (WTE) concept capable of utilising a range of solid wastes or rubbish to produce electricity,” Mr Snowdon said. One of the biggest fuel usages in a deployed environment, excluding air operations, is power generation for headquarters, field hospitals, and humanitarian relief sites where most power infrastructure is destroyed. Mr Snowdon said a typical ADF battalion of 500 soldiers generates about 1,000 to 2,000 kg of waste per day on deployment.
“The aim of the Waste To Energy system is to recover the embodied energy of the rubbish and generate power for the base, reducing the need for diesel.
“DSTO and HRL Technology have developed a concept that uses a technology capable of processing up to 5,000 kg of solid waste per day. That’s processing more than twice the amount of rubbish produced by a typical battalion.”
Research by DSTO and HRL Technology scientists in Melbourne conducted over the last two and a half years found the most effective way to generate power was to utilise hot gases from waste combustion in a grate furnace, which heated compressed air for expansion through a turbine.
“The Waste to Energy system could potentially generate 200 kW of power, enoug

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