Basfiber® is an eco-compatibility material, characterized from an easier recyclability if compared for example, to glass fiber. In fact the principal problem in glass fibers recycling is that they melt during incineration, sticking to the inside of the incinerator chamber. The result is a costly clean-up effort and significant downtime. Basfiber®, instead, has a melting point about 1400°C. This means that after some composite material contained Basfiber® is incinerated, the only product left is an un-molten, fully usable basalt that can be swept from the incinerator. And this is naturally a considerable added value.
Compared to other composite materials Basfiber® can be considered as Green Product because of the following reasons:
- Raw materials for production of Basfiber® are natural rock - basalt;
- During loading into the melting furnace producers don't use any chemical additives as well as any solvents, pigments or other hazardous materials;
- Producers use only natural gas and electricity for heating of melting furnaces and bushings;
- Melting furnaces for production of Basfiber® are environmentally friendly and don't release any industrial waste during production.
- Final product doesn't include any hazardous materials and fully corresponds to reach protocol and all hygienic standards;
- Basfiber® products have no toxic re-action with air or water, are non-combustible and explosion proof. When in contact with other chemicals they produce no chemical reactions that may damage health or the environment;
- Basfiber® diameter exceeds 6 microns and does not enter the human respiration system. Scientifically is proven that the fiber of more than 3 microns in diameter cannot penetrate into human respiration system;
- In Europe, Japan and the United States, fiber-reinforced PP and PE auto parts are often recycled by incineration. The problem with this is that the glass-fiber reinforcement melts and builds up on the bottom of the ovens, which must be shut down for cleaning. In the same conditions, Basfiber® burns down into a fine powder. The extracted powder can then be used as filler for resins or in road materials. Moreover, this powder is a natural material (basalt powder), not a chemical substance as in case with the E-glass. Thus using reinforced parts made out of Basfiber® instead of the E-glass fiber reinforcement allows car producers effectively meet strict end-of life requirements.
European distributor of Basfiber® performed a project with the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) from Belgium. The aim of this project was to carry out a screening life cycle assessment (LCA) of Basfiber® materials (basalt fiber and BCF woven fabrics) and its alternative glass fiber and glass fiber woven fabrics.
LCA is a suitable method to analyse the environmental impacts of products, processes and/or systems, from an entire life cycle perspective. LCA quantifies the potential environmental effects of a product over its entire life cycle, meaning that the extraction of raw materials, the production of materials and the product, the use and the end-of-life treatment are taken into account
The life cycle of the materials is divided in different life cycle phases:
- Production of raw materials;
- Transport of raw materials from supplier to producer of basalt fibers or glass fibers ;
- Production of basalt fibers or glass fibers;
- Transport to processing plant (weaver)
- Weaving/Production of woven fabrics
- Packaging of basalt woven fabrics or glass fiber woven fabrics ;
- Transport to customers;
- Use in composite application;
- Transport to EoL;
- EoL treatment.
When comparing the Basfiber®(and woven fabrics) with its alternative/competitor, the glass fiber (woven fabric) contributes significantly more to 12 environmental impact categories than the Basfiber® . In other categories the impacts of the Basfiber® are mainly due to the mining activities of the basalt rocks and the use of natural gas.