The World is set on a course to net zero by 2050 and businesses of all sizes have a crucial role to play in providing new, net zero-capable products using sustainable materials and processes. With many small and medium sized businesses at the heart of the supply chains providing the innovation to drive this chage, incorporating sustainability into your business strategy offers a great opportunity to future proof your business, win more customers and survive in a competitive marketplace both in the UK and overseas.
The NCC and ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd started work together to demonstrate a sustainable, commercially viable, circular economy for the composites industry, leveraging the NCC’s experience with composite materials.
At present only 15% of all composites produced in the UK annually are reused or recycled. While commercial recycling methods such as ELG’s exist, lack of awareness and confidence in these materials currently limit wider adoption in industry. Through the partnership with ELG, the NCC has proven and showcased the use of recycled fibres in a number of different applications from battery enclosures through to bogies. The intent is to develop interconnected and communicative supply chains to accelerate industry growth for sustainable composites.
NCC is currently engaged in a project with ELG exploring alternative recycling routes and is developing enabling technologies that are sector specific to further eliminate barriers to adoption and stimulate market demand.
Nuclear power offers huge potential to deliver the low carbon energy that the world demands. Nuclear Energy Components, which specialises in metal components for the nuclear industry, turned to the Nuclear AMRC to develop environmentally friendly machining techniques to reduce the cost, lead time and risk of high-value nuclear components.
The year-long project, called Process Improvement Through CO2 Cooling (PITCO2C), is funded by the UK government’s Nuclear Innovation Programme, and builds on previous projects led by the Nuclear AMRC with early research funded by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
As well as supporting business-critical items such as a financial modelling tool, NEC worked with the Nuclear AMRC to develop a prototype system which will allow supercritical CO2 coolant technology to be retrofitted to legacy machine tools, removing barriers to adoption for SMEs. While the project is ongoing, research to date suggests technology could reduce machining costs by half.
Start-up Evari Bikes Ltd worked with CPI to innovate the design and build of its high-end, high quality composite e-bikes with the aim of accelerating the product towards commercialisation.
Through the IMPACT project, Evari Bikes began their partnership with CPI in 2019 to explore how graphene could be used to strengthen the frames of its e-bikes. CPI’s expertise in securing funding was leveraged to obtain grants from the European Union and regional governments, and CPI then began a project to develop a graphene formulation that could be successfully introduced to the carbon fibre epoxy resin bike frame.
CPI carried out the proof-of-concept and feasibility study, identifying areas where further development work was required and greatly accelerating the route to market for this innovative e-bike.