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Sustainability in Composites at JEC World

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Sustainability in composites at JEC World 2024

By Dave Wood

This year was my first year attending JEC World in Paris. Other than the sheer size, scale of the event and the seemingly limitless potential uses for composite materials, the thing which was most apparent to me at the show was the collective focus on sustainability. You only had to look through the programme of talks to see that sustainability was THE theme of JEC World 2024.

It’s common knowledge that composites play an important role in driving decarbonisation through things like reducing weight and the subsequent impact on fuel economy and emissions, developing higher performance material which, in turn, lead to higher performance, the widespread use of composite materials in the renewable energy sector and less energy-consumptive products and increasing product life spans and thus the need for fewer replacement parts.

However, there was a real focus on the need for the composites industry to push the boundaries further and see what more can be done to make composites more sustainable in a world of finite resources.

It was fascinating to see the innovation on show – hundreds of businesses from all over the world who have all invested heavily in the future sustainability of composites – be that through developing new production and manufacturing techniques to reduce waste and, as a consequence, the amount of raw materials required, the dedicated pavilion highlighting the use case for natural fibres in composites (which have the potential to replace higher-carbon, man-made fibres in some instances) or the number of dedicated products designed for the wind and hydrogen energy industries.

I was most intrigued with the investment I witnessed in the field of recycling – which has long been a knock on the composites industry. I was able to speak with a number businesses who are developing new product ranges designed specifically to be easier to recycle.

The composites industry still has a long way to go in becoming a truly sustainable industry but with the focus and investment on display this year in Paris, I am already intrigued as to what developments will be highlighted in 2025. I can’t wait to see.

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Linkedin: Dave Wood

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