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Aeronix Technologies launches industry first range of carbon neutral processing materials for UK composites market.

We are thrilled to announce that we are launching a new range of carbon neutral consumable products. The range of fabrics, films, meshes, tubing and fittings are manufactured from different types of plastics, opening up more sustainable options for the disposal of consumable products. This challenging, proactive initiative by Aeronix Technologies is an industry first for the UK composites market to help reduce CO2 emissions.  

The launch of an alternative choice of carbon neutral consumables is the first stage of a ‘Sustainable Industry’ program that will be rolled out by Aeronix Technologies over the next 12 months. We have a clear long-term goal to transform harmful practices that negatively impact the environment, especially those contributing towards climate change. We believe it is essential that these practices change to prevent further escalation of global warming and its potentially devastating impact on the planet and mankind.

New Carbon Neutral Offset Range

 The new range of carbon neutral composites consumables for vacuum infusion (VI), vacuum assisted resin transfer moulding (VARTM) and prepreg laminating includes:

  • Vacuum bagging films
  • Infusion resin flow meshes
  • Vacuum breather fabrics
  • Release films
  • Peel plies
  • Plastic infusion tubing, spiral wrap and associated fittings

Carbon neutrality is achieved for the new environmentally friendly consumables range by a combination of improved sourcing and manufacture with the lowest carbon footprint currently possible, and offsetting the balance to be net zero. The calculated remaining carbon footprint for the range is being offset through earning ‘carbon credits’ per tonne of CO2 from contributing to carbon offset projects. We have chosen four Carbon Offset projects active in different parts of the world focused on: clean oceans; afforestation (new forest creation); hydropower; biomass.  

Looking forward, we aim to continue the development of new product innovations with even lower emissions, ideally as part of a circular economy, with the goal to reduce the amount of offset needed to offer carbon neutral products.  

Driving Force and Motivation

Our co-founding director Rick Wakeford explains what we have done since starting back in 2015 to make both a dedicated composites business and their ‘Sustainable Industry’ program a reality: “Aeronix Technologies benefits from the extensive investments made since we started developing products for the composites industry more than five years ago. We secured European Regional Business growth funding in 2018 to build new R & D facilities, and then won UK Government Composites Innovation project grant funding in 2019 focused on sustainability. Both grants have enabled us to get to where we are today with the launch of our Sustainable Industry program”.

Rick went on to say: “Since starting Aeronix Technologies commercially in 2019 we have learnt even more about vacuum infusion and the high levels of consumable waste created. To quantify how this waste negatively impacts a company’s overall carbon footprint, we commissioned an independent carbon study specifically to measure the emissions generated from each type of vacuum moulding consumable product currently used. The study measured the amount of CO2 emissions per 100 sq. m of rolled material or per kg of plastic component used. The report has provided the data upon which we have based our carbon neutral range. The consulting company we engaged to do the carbon study also helped us to select the four Carbon Offset projects around the world, which are all doing an amazing job reducing carbon emissions.” 

The strong motivation of our three Aeronix Technologies founding directors to invest so much time and resources to create this Sustainable Industry program stems from an awareness and growing concern about the escalating global climate change crisis due to continued high levels of global CO2 emissions. A clear need is recognised for individuals and companies to change what they do today and proactively find ways to reduce their carbon footprint to avoid cataclysmic global events escalating due to unchecked global warming.   

Changing the way people and companies behave to reduce emissions and global warming is an approach advocated by UK not-for-profit organisations such as WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) and ‘Behaviour Change’. Their new partnership initiative, formed at the beginning of 2022, is focused on how to address the identified issue that: “45% of UK emissions arise from the products people use and how they are used, and that behavioural change is a vital part of reaching net zero.” Global 2021 forecast data estimates, post-pandemic lockdowns, indicate rising emission levels once again, reinforcing the need to change existing practices. 

Post Lockdown Global Emissions Rise

In spite of a much higher level of commitment from governments and many multinationals to addressing climate change, CO2 generation levels remain too high globally. According to information published on the World Economic Forum website (www.weforum.org.) in November 2021 from ‘CarbonBrief’, a UK-based online organisation covering latest developments in climate science, the Global Carbon Project (GCP) worldwide data for fossil emissions reached a pre-pandemic high of 36.7bn tonnes of CO2 in 2019. GCP is expecting 2021 global emissions rising back up to around 36.4bn tonnes of CO2 (GtCO2), having fallen in 2020 due to the global pandemic and worldwide lockdowns. 

In the UK, government statistic for 2019 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows the significant progress made in reducing emissions from 600 MtCO2e in 1990 down to 360 MtCO2e, of which business emissions in 2019 contributed 17% of total CO2 emissions recorded. While this is an encouraging downward trend, both UK citizens and business leaders need to do more by actively participating and supporting sustainable project initiatives, such as Aeronix Technologies’ new Carbon Neutral range.      

Independent Carbon Emissions Study

The independent study commissioned by Aeronix Technologies investigated and calculated both the carbon emissions (in kg CO₂/ 100 sq. m or kg of material) and the safety margin offset levels for each of the peel plies, plastic fabrics, textiles, vacuum bags, release films and plastic fitting products in use. 

The study, which followed a detailed “cradle-to-customer plus end-of-life waste” life cycle assessment (LCA) approach, was carried out according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol). Both the primary and secondary data from recognised sources was used in the report analysis and output, with the underlying emission factors being derived from recognised independent LCA and integrated system global emission modelling databases.  

Emissions were taken into account according to the following product lifecycle stages: extraction and pre-processing of each consumable’s raw materials and packaging, production and supply to factory gate, plus the recycling or waste disposal emissions of the consumable product and packaging.

The study included a +10% safety margin allowance for each product type to ensure that all ensuing emissions are fully offset within acceptable boundaries. The +10% offset value for individual products are being used by Aeronix Technologies to calculate exactly how much offsetting is needed to be net zero.   

Andrew Edge, who was appointed Commercial Director for Aeronix Technologies back in September 2021, spent the previous two years working with the Aeronix management team as a consultant. During that time the consumables and equipment range was greatly expanded, along with strengthening in-house technical expertise. Andrew was also extensively involved in the development of the specifications for the new range of lower carbon emission consumables for the sustainable industry project and setting up toll manufactured suppliers.  

The data from the commissioned carbon emissions report has been used by Andrew to calculate the total CO2 emissions from all the consumables used to manufacture a single prepreg deck for a 100M superyacht, which came to 13,495 kg CO2. A similar calculation for a resin infused 100M wind turbine blade came to a staggering 14,674 kg CO2 of offset needed.    

Andrew commented: “Having worked in the composites industry for more than 17 years designing and building race boats, superyachts and then wind turbine blades, I have seen first-hand the amount of waste generated when manufacturing large scale (>50M long) composite hulls, decks and blades. Our carbon emission study has quantified what that equates to in terms of the carbon footprint and the impact on the planet. We want our customers to leverage our work on this initiative to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Company Information

Aeronix Technologies Ltd is a UK based company specialising in providing high quality products and services to the composites manufacturing industry. As well as focusing on the manufacture and supply of a wide range of products, Aeronix Technologies also provide a comprehensive range of support services, such as training, Process Optimisation & Creation and Tooling System Advice.

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