Views: 1 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2021-08-12 Origin: Site
Scientists are developing bio-based carbon fiber to replace or partially replace petroleum-based products. Dr. Erik Frank of the Institute of Textiles and Fibers in Denkendorf, Germany said, "Carbon fiber is a magical material because it is very strong and light compared to metal." However, the current production of carbon fiber relies on petroleum and the carbon footprint is very bad.
Carbon fiber is widely used in the manufacture of high-performance products such as airplanes, automobiles, and bicycles, tennis rackets, and wind turbines. It is very lightweight, which means it can significantly improve performance and reduce energy requirements.
Carbon fiber is an incredible thin wire composed of almost pure carbon crystals, with a diameter of 5-10 microns. Its mechanical strength is 5 times that of steel, and its hardness is twice that of steel. Carbon fiber was first made of plant materials such as cellulose and rayon, until later replaced by petroleum products with low cost and high performance. According to Dr. Frank, in order to make this fiber, petroleum is first processed into highly toxic polyacrylonitrile (PAN). It is drawn into thin threads and then heated in an oven without oxygen. However, the production process requires a lot of energy and generates a lot of emissions and toxins. Unlike in the past, people only cared about cost. Now sustainable development is more important, and oil has become less cheap. What Frank did is to explore the use of lignin, a substance found in most plants, that is also used in the paper industry. By-product) into carbon fiber. "To do this, we chemically purify it and shape it," he continued, "then we can spin it into fibers, and we try to do it directly in water instead of using toxic solvents. You The resulting fiber can be directly turned into carbon fiber.” However, he added, “Compared with polyacrylonitrile-based fiber, the performance of bio-based carbon fiber is at the middle and low end. I should say that bio-based carbon fiber will not replace polyacrylonitrile-based carbon fiber. . This will be a second market to keep pace with it."
"In aircraft manufacturing, it has been used as a standard," Frank said it can help reduce weight, thereby changing the state of electric vehicles. The automobile industry wants to switch to carbon fiber, but the current cost of carbon fiber is too high and the sustainability is not enough. The automotive industry is greatly driven by prices and increasingly wants to be more sustainable. Moreover, the use of carbon fiber to reinforce concrete has already occurred, but it has not yet been adopted on a large scale. The advantage of this is that you can make the concrete thinner while being able to withstand heavy loads, so you can design completely different shapes. The aim is to get rid of the large amount of concrete currently in use. "
Carbon neutrality is a revolution. Enterprises do not do it voluntarily, but if they do not do it, they will face increasing environmental protection costs. For example, even airlines like Airbus are looking for sustainable carbon fiber.
Frank said that the annual global production capacity of petroleum-based carbon fiber is only 150,000 tons. The high cost includes complex production process and energy-intensive, and it is difficult to recycle and process, although the method of reusing it is being developed. "A lot of people are innovating in this area, but they will get worse with each cycle, and at some point, they will have to be disposed of. Burning is not an option because it is difficult to burn. "At the same time, the demand for sustainable high-performance materials means that with the acceleration of global research and development, bio-based carbon fiber may soon become more affordable. "We are committed to using the raw materials from these factories and converting them directly into carbon fiber. The idea is simple. We obtain carbon from the air through plants instead of adding carbon to the atmosphere from fossil sources such as oil or coal."
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