The application of carbon fibre as a key design material has revolutionised a number of industries, with its lightweight and flexible properties helping improve the performance of products such as cars, wind turbines and aircraft. However, the material is hard to reuse and not biodegradable or recyclable by traditional means; meaning the vast majority produced ends up in landfill (approximately 45,000 tonnes each year).
That’s the problem a team of Deakin University graduates set out to solve in starting the world’s first recycled carbon fibre surfboard company. The team say they are not only providing a potential solution for a problematic waste stream, but also delivering a high-quality product from the recycled material.
"What we've been able to create is a carbon fibre surfboard out of recycled material … we like to think it's a bit of a success," Dr Filip Stojcevski, one of the company’s founders, told ABC News.
"All this material from all the aircraft parts and automotive parts would have ended up in landfill, but instead we've created the second life form in our surfboards."
They have worked out a way to repurpose the material from old aircraft and wind turbines, as well as factory off-cuts, into surfboards. The surfboard start-up was selected for the SPARK Deakin Accelerator 2020 program, which will provide them access to mentors and advisors to help get their business off the ground.
Other potential applications for recycled carbon fibre material include as an additive in cement or to substitute for other materials in automotive parts.