Düsseldorf, New York and Tokyo, 17 January 2023 – Asahi Kasei, a diversified Japanese  multinational company, has developed a new technology for recycling carbon fiber plastic  compounds together with the National Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu College and  Tokyo University of Science. 

Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) are highly attractive for various industries in demanding appli cation fields due to their unique balance of rigidity, mechanical strength and light weight – also com pared with conventional glass fiber reinforced plastics. However, CFRPs are expensive and challeng ing from a recycling perspective, as it is difficult to extract the carbon fibers from the resin after usage. 

Together with its project partners at the National Institute of Technology at Kitakyushu College and the  Tokyo University of Science, Asahi Kasei has developed a recycling method that allows carbon fibers  to be extracted from CFRP or carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTP) used in automobiles.  This results in high-quality, inexpensive continuous carbon fiber that can be recycled perpetually, con

tributing to circular economy. Unlike carbon fiber that is chopped up during the recycling process, Asahi  Kasei’s method allows carbon fiber to be extracted from a plastic compound seamlessly, resulting in  continuous strands of carbon fiber that can be reapplied in exactly the same manner while retaining  properties identical to the original substance. 

The conventional technologies for recycling carbon fibers by chopping and re-applying them results in  a product with lower quality and less durability, insufficient for high-performance applications. To ad dress this issue, Asahi Kasei has developed an “electrolyzed sulfuric acid solution method” that allows  the carbon fiber to retain its original strength and continuous nature while fully decomposing the resin  the carbon fiber is embedded in. This allows for its continued use in high-performance applications and  presents an inexpensive, circular solution to the end-of-life dilemma of carbon fiber plastic compounds.  Thus, these carbon fiber compounds present in vehicles for weight reduction. It can be easily and  inexpensively be broken down at end-of-vehicle-life and reapplied to new vehicles in the future.  

In addition, Asahi Kasei is developing a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic unidirectional tape  (CFRTP-UD tape) that utilizes both recycled continuous carbon fiber and the company’s Leona™ poly amide resin. Boasting a higher strength than metal, this CFRTP-UD tape can be applied to automobile  frames and bodies, further enabling the recycling of end-of-vehicle-life parts into different, new auto mobile parts. This presents a solution to the long-term challenge that carbon fiber usage for vehicles  has posed on the industry and is expected to economically benefit and strengthen carbon fiber’s usage  within the automobile industry on a global scale. Moving forward, Asahi Kasei will perform demonstra tions and develop the business, aiming for practical application around 2030.

About the Asahi Kasei Corporation 

The Asahi Kasei Group contributes to life and living for people around the world. Since its foundation  in 1922 with ammonia and cellulose fiber businesses, Asahi Kasei has consistently grown through the  proactive transformation of its business portfolio to meet the evolving needs of every age. With more 

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than 46,000 employees around the world, the company contributes to a sustainable society by provid ing solutions to the world’s challenges through its three business sectors of Material, Homes, and  Health Care. Its Materials sector, comprised of Environmental Solutions, Mobility & Industrial, and Life  Innovation, includes a wide array of products from battery separators and biodegradable textiles to  engineering plastics and sound solutions. For more information, visit www.asahi-kasei.com

Asahi Kasei is also dedicated to sustainability initiatives and is contributing to reaching a carbon neu tral society by 2050. To learn more, visit https://www.asahi-kasei.com/sustainability/