A Tuscan company has finally developed an innovative thermochemical process capable of solving the problem of the disposal of fiberglass.
More than 50 years ago, when fiberglass (a compound made up of fiberglass and resin) was discovered, wood and metal were gradually put aside and almost completely replaced by the new material. Its remarkable mechanical characteristics, excellent resistance, elasticity and lightness made it perfect for building hulls and in fact, for over 50 years, nothing else has been used.
Unfortunately, the great defect of fiberglass has been seen only over time: its disposal. In recent years many companies specialized in the scrapping of boats have been born but it is estimated that only 10% of a boat is recyclable, the rest is sent to landfills or to incinerators that certainly with their fumes are not good for the environment. The alternatives are mechanical recycling by crushing and grinding, characterized by a high energy expenditure, large maintenance costs and low value of the material obtained and chemical recycling, (glycolysis and hydrolysis) currently studied only in the laboratory as it poses large environmental and economic problems.
Fortunately, a Tuscan company, Korec Srl, introduced an astonishing innovation to the market to solve the problem of fiberglass waste recycling by placing an innovative thermochemical process, patented worldwide, capable of recovering not only up to 99 % of fiberglass but even the organic part of fiberglass (up to 80%) in the form of liquid, which mixed with virgin resin, can be reused again for the construction of new hulls.
This process is not only economically advantageous, thanks to the reduction of disposal costs and the significant reduction in the consumption of virgin raw materials, but it is also more environmentally sustainable than the solutions currently in force. In fact, no dangerous chemical is used during the process and emissions are reduced thanks to the use of the best technologies available on the market.
Korec has started a pilot plant in Bergamo which will be operational this summer, with the perspective of an industrial expansion. The goal is the development of a circular economy in the fiberglass sector, a material that up today has made the environment suffer for its non-recyclability.