Innovation

Launch of the “VALORENZ” industrial chair

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Launch of the "VALORENZ" industrial chair: IMT MINES ALÈS - SEGULA TECHNOLOGIES: BASED ON THE ORIGINAL AND INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT OF ENZYMATIC VALORIZATION OF COMPOSITES FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

The VALORENZ Chair, just launched for a period of five years, is based on a partnership formed in 2017 between the “Polymers, Composites, Hybrids” (PCH) laboratory of the Centre des Matériaux des Mines d’Alès (C2MA) of IMT Mines Alès, and the Automotive department of SEGULA Technologies.

The VALORENZ Chair has just been launched in March 2019 for a period of five years. It is based on a partnership established in 2017 between the “Polymers, Composites, Hybrids” (PCH) laboratory of the Centre des Matériaux des Mines d’Alès (C2MA) of IMT Mines Alès, and the Automotive Department of SEGULA Technologies.

SEGULA Technologies works to boost the competitiveness of all major industrial players, particularly those in the automotive industry. A key concern of car manufacturers is the legal obligation to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition to this, the end-of-life of end-of-life vehicles – for which European Directive 2000/53/EC required, in 2015, a minimum recycling rate of 85% by weight – is taken into account from the design stage. This encourages and motivates companies in the transport sector to explore new ways of making vehicles lighter and more recyclable.

Thanks to the experience it has acquired with manufacturers of all types of vehicles (automotive, rail, shipping, etc.), SEGULA Technologies offers its partners new part, structure and appearance designs, as well as innovative material solutions to meet these major challenges.

In addition, the Group has developed knowledge and skills in the field of composites which, given the context, has led it to investigate the recycling of these materials using innovative solutions. After having successfully explored various mechanical recycling techniques for more than 10 years, various end-of-life material sectors (automotive, D3E, biocomposites, etc.) have very recently seen the emergence of alternative techniques involving other processes, in particular biological and enzymatic processes.

The Polymers, Composites, Hybrids (PCH) laboratory of IMT Mines Alès is carrying out research on the development of innovative polymer and composite materials by taking into account all stages of their life cycle (formulation of materials, implementation, properties of use, durability, end of life) while focusing on understanding the relationships between composition / properties / implementation / structure. The PCH laboratory formed a national working group in September 2015 on the enzymatic recovery of plastics and composites to develop its work on the durability and recycling of polymers.

Following initial collaborations in 2017, SEGULA Technologies and IMT Mines Alès decided to launch the VALORENZ Chair: “original and innovative development of ENZymatic VALORisation of composites for the automotive industry”. Through this chair, the two partners affirm their desire to develop knowledge on the relationships of four-dimensional systems (composition / mechanical properties / implementation / susceptibility to enzymatic recycling) in order to be able to design composites with a controllable lifespan. The results of this research shall be used to demonstrate that competitive levels of mechanical performance and stability can be achieved with composites obtained by infusion. The potential for recycling such composites at the end of their life thanks to an innovative process involving enzymatic catalysis to regenerate the original constituents will also be studied.

The chair comprises several doctoral theses and master’s degree projects, which contribute to this research, and also applies to the university’s pedagogical activities.

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Morgane MEYER
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