TECNALIA sets up a pioneering laboratory in Europe for developing hydrogen technologies
The research and technological development centre and the industrial plastic waste recovery company are collaborating in the implementation of technologies for the incorporation of recycled plastic in the automotive industry and composite materials in new products with high added value
20th July 2023. The research and technological development centre, TECNALIA, and the industrial plastic waste revaluation company, Birziplastik, have joined forces to bring the circular economy to industry, through technologies that favour the sustainability of processes and competitiveness. The aim is to implement a circular production and consumption model, which proposes to minimise natural resources in production processes, maximise the use of products for as long as possible and generate greater value at the end of the products' useful life through re-use, re-manufacturing and recycling.
Tecnalia and Birziplastik are currently working together on the implementation of technologies for the incorporation of recycled plastic in the automotive industry and for the recycling of composite materials in new products with high added value.
The first of the initiatives, backed by the Hazitek programme, includes collaboration with Mondragón Sistemas de Información, Matz-Erreka, Larrañaga Plásticos, Automatismos Maser, Xabet Digital and Ekide, and is a technology based on artificial intelligence to explore new, reliable and sustainable recycled formulations. Its implementation will bring about a 50% reduction in the defective use of plastic parts; presence of at least 20% of recycled material in the parts; and a 20% reduction in consumption.
This technology will assist the machine operator in making decisions to set the optimal parameter values for the plastic injection moulding process and thus reduce the number of defective parts, to ensure a high level of efficiency.
The second initiative, backed by a European programme, focuses on the development of technologies for the re-use of end-of-life composite materials in new products with high added value.
Therefore, in conjunction with Idec and Reciclalia, and other partners from seven different European regions, a solution based on the interaction between technical and social ecosystems at local and inter-regional level is being developed for the benefit of the environment, industry, consumers and European society. For this purpose, they will launch two circular pilots: mechanical recycling and hybrid reprocessing and thermochemical recycling and textile reprocessing of composite waste.
This collaboration will go even further, and the aim is to develop technological solutions that companies can incorporate into their processes to favour the circular economy in different areas, for example: fine-tuning and development of mechanical recycling technologies for the re-use of polymeric material waste; reconditioning of recycled fibre and identification of new applications for this material; recycling of carbon fibre reinforcements or quartz flours; or obtaining raw materials with different reinforcements, such as glass or carbon fibres.
Cristina Elizetxea, researcher at TECNALIA, says that "we want to offer innovative technologies to make companies and society more sustainable. For this purpose, we are participating from the eco-design stage of materials, products and processes, to the development of solutions for the recycling and recovery of waste, incorporating digital technologies to make the transition to the circular model more efficient.
Our commitment is to do so through collaboration with companies, such as BIRZIPLASTIK, in order to promote intelligent, sustainable and integrated growth of industrial activity, which promotes the economy and guarantees the well-being of future generations.
Mikel Llona, CEO of BIRZIPLASTIK, "our objective is to recover raw materials linked to the plastic element, whether in thermoplastics or thermosets. These recovered raw materials will be made available to Basque industry, favouring its competitiveness, sustainability and supply chain. Working with TECNALIA enables us to ensure that the revalued materials are of high quality and ad hoc.
TECNALIA is the largest applied research and technological development centre in Spain, a European benchmark and member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance. TECNALIA works with companies and institutions to improve their competitiveness, people's quality of life and achieve sustainable growth, thanks to a team of more than 1,500 people committed to building a better world through technological research and innovation. This is why TECNALIA's research has a real impact on society and generates benefits in the form of quality of life and progress.
Its main areas of action are: smart manufacturing, digital transformation, energy transition, sustainable mobility, health and food, urban ecosystem and circular economy.
In the latest brand awareness and positioning study carried out by the European Research Survey (ERS) in 2022, TECNALIA tops the list regarding R&D&I brand awareness.
As an authorised waste manager specialising in the plastic element, focusing on the end customer, it is capable of obtaining recovery rates of over 90 % and is already reintroducing both post-industrial and post-consumer materials in major Basque industries working in sectors such as the automotive, furniture and electronics sectors.