Necessity has always been the mother of invention. In Spain, this is something Agustín Bueno, professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Alicante, and Francisco Perucho, in charge of San Vicente del Raspeig’s scrapyard, are very aware of, since they’re both the inventors of the technology discussed in this article.
It seems that the lack of a technical solution to offload out-of-service boat hulls, piling up all over the facility due to economic crisis, was what triggered them to find a viable and, incidentally, sustainable solution to this problem.
After several years of research and tests, they have patented a method which allows fiberglass from vessels, wind turbines or airplanes in disuse to be recycled in order to manufacture new items. This chemical procedure is capable of detaching fiber from plastic at room temperature, eventually obtaining a material which, surprisingly, retains exactly the same properties as the original. Thus, fiberglass can be reutilized thanks to this technique.
Contrary to other methods based on thermal processes, the real innovative approach in this technology lies in its absence of emissions into the atmosphere, its retrieval of the totality of the compound, and its economic profitability, since the energy cost of the chemical procedure is low.
The applications of fiberglass are countless, not only in the fields of aeronautics, motoring or navigation, but also in many other sectors, since this material is present in buildings, pipes, handrails, or even in sporting goods such as skis, canoes, poles… Hence, this technology entails a great breakthrough towards the sustainability of this material by providing it with a new purpose through recycling.