5 December 2017

Land Rover BAR sailing team champions recycling of valuable boat parts

Land Rover BAR, the renowned British yacht racing team, has announced its decision to recycle and reuse all its carbon fibre waste and reuse the material in the manufacturing of future sailing boats to illustrate the most economic and environmentally efficient use of this valuable material.

The team has partnered with ELG, a pioneer in recycling and global trading of raw materials, which aims to close the production loop and increase the value of manufacturing materials.

Thanks to its light weight and durability, carbon fibre is a material with a wide range of applications for different of industries, including renewable energy and the automotive industry.

Richard Hopkirk, Engineering Manager at Land Rover BAR explains that as carbon fibre is one of the lightest and strongest materials known, it constitutes a very useful material for the sailing industry because it makes the boats as light as possible.

The team will recycle all the carbon fibre materials it used during the test boats for its latest America’s Cup campaign. The test boat may no longer be needed, but this doesn’t mean that the valuable materials that they are made of can’t continue their life-cycle.

Due to its unique attributions, it is estimated that by 2020 the demand for carbon fibre will surpass the supply; therefore, it becomes extremely relevant to divert as much as possible from the landfill and to explore ways of re-using it.

Alan Boot, part of the manufacturing team said that “over the next cycle of the America’s Cup, we are looking to use recycled materials in the production of toolings and moulding for our race boats aiming to start putting more recycled parts in our future boats”.

He added: “It is important to us that we build a boat for which we have an end-of-life-cycle plan. It is our responsibility to encourage other marine and non-marine industries to follow our lead by setting the standard to recycle carbon fibre as much as possible”.

Mathilde Poulet, Lead Product Development Engineer at ELG added: “Land Rover BAR was the first one from the marine, and especially the racing industry to come to ELG and ask for recycling of their waste”.

The two organisations will work together to develop applications for the recycled carbon fibre for Great Britain’s entry in the 36th America’s Cup. Components where carbon fibre is highly used in boats are moulds, hulls and foils.

11th Hour Racing, an organisation working with the sailing community to advance sustainable solutions and practices within the sailing and marine communities, is the team’s exclusive sustainability partner on carbon recycling.

Michel Marie, Manufacturing Manager at Land Rover BAR said: "Our desire to be the world's most sustainable sports team has meant that recycling the significant amounts of carbon fibre that we use in boat construction has been a concern for us for some while”.

Frazer Barnes, ELG Carbon Fibre's Managing Director added: "It is hugely rewarding to see such an environmentally aware team as Land Rover BAR championing the issue of closed loop recycling in the marine sector”. 

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