Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shipwrecks no more: Recycling old boats

June 21, 2011
Nearly 5,000 recreational boats are retired and disposed of every year in Norway -- either sunk to the bottom of the sea or burned in a bonfire. Now, researchers have developed a new method for recycling these vessels.

Nearly 5,000 recreational boats are retired and disposed of every year in Norway- either sunk to the bottom of the sea or burned in a bonfire. Now, researchers have developed a new method for recycling these vessels.

There are one million recreational boats in Norway, and another 35,000 new boats are purchased and added to the fleet every year. Cabin cruisers, yachts and small boats -- big or small, they all rely on composite materials for the hull and the superstructure. The reason for this is that composites are made of cross-linked polyester and fibreglass, which makes them lightweight yet strong.

The only problem is that when a recreational boat gets old and the owner is ready to discard it, there is no way to dispose of it properly -- there is no place to take it, and no way to recycle the materials it contains.

"Plastic shopping bags can be melted down and processed, but composite materials have molecular bonds that are not easily broken down," says SINTEF research director Fabrice Lapique.

In response to this problem, Veolia, a recycling company, started a project three years ago in collaboration with SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, the Norwegian Composite Association, Reichhold and Nordboat. The effort is being supported by the Research Council of Norway. The project called for industry partners to evaluate possibilities for the collection, dismantling and transport of the different fractions of cast-off boats, while the scientists examined whether it is possible to recover the composites from the vessels, and figure out what they can potentially be used for.

Chemical recycling

The results are now available, and are very good. During the course of the project, SINTEF has developed different methods and found a chemical process that makes it possible to separate the polyester and fibreglass so that both products can be reused.

"The process is very effective," says Lapique. "The level of usability varies from property to property, but is around 80 per cent. And best of all is that the process is easy to implement in an industrial context. Within two hours, more than 80 per cent of the material has been dissolved and the temperature during the process does not exceed 220 degrees."

Lapique says these results are nothing less than revolutionary. "After having reviewed the scientific literature and developed an idea of the ​​state-of-the-art, we see that we have gone further than other countries," he says.

Feedstock challenges

Reichhold, which is a leading supplier of unsaturated polyesters and vinyl esters to the composite industry, was sceptical at the beginning that it would be possible to recycle composite materials.

"This is a very positive development, since it has been generally accepted that the process by which plastic is hardened could not be reversed," says Egil Holtmon, technology director at Reichhold. "This is definitely the way to go, but there is still a lot of work to do before we can bring it into our production systems."

Reichhold believes that collecting old boats and separating them into different fractions is in itself a large undertaking, but that the biggest challenge lies in providing as a clean a raw material as possible.

"Hardened polyester is mixed with 30 per cent glass fibre, and these two fractions must be separated using chemical treatment. Another issue is that the newest boats contain core materials that must be separated -- and many are combined with base materials."

The company will now wait and see how the report is received before pursuing anything further.

Transport needs to be part of the solution

Jan Fredrik Bergman, who is head of business development at Veolia Miljø, believes that the results give hope for starting a new kind of recycling company. He believes that boat importers and producers are themselves aware of their responsibilities and support the solutions that are sure to be required for the collection and handling of old boats.

But, says Bergman, "the challenges are many. Recreational boats are defined as 'boats less than 24 meters long', and boats of that size will involve more than just transporting them to environmentally friendly disposal. Boat transport itself is associated with large costs and should be covered by the system."

Bergman believes that local authorities must help by accepting small boats, which can be transported on a car or a car with a trailer. These boats can then be transported to an environmental treatment facility.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SINTEF. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

SINTEF. "Shipwrecks no more: Recycling old boats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110609083228.htm>.
SINTEF. (2011, June 21). Shipwrecks no more: Recycling old boats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110609083228.htm
SINTEF. "Shipwrecks no more: Recycling old boats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110609083228.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This

More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) — Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 23, 2014) — A sharp rise in revenue for commercial jets offset a decline in Boeing's defense business. And a big increase in deliveries lifted profitability. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins