Recycled carbon fibers (rCF) in automobiles: towards circular economy

Anand Bellam Balaji, Chris Rudd, Xiaoling Liu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Carbon fiber is now in focus center for manufacturing various commercial and technical products in global industry. Especially, in automobiles, the use of carbon fiber has led empowerment of more fuel proficient transportation. On the downsides, at their end-of-life stage, huge amounts end up in landfills causing serious waste management and environmental issues. Meanwhile, expanded collaborations among the industrialists and researchers have aided recuperating and reusing of the carbon fibers, putting them back into the track of circular economy. This work presents a comprehensive review on the driving forces and challenges faced by the stakeholders in using recycled carbon fibers (rCF) for development of new automotive parts, in order to close the loop of carbon fibers in automobile industry. The insights of current carbon fiber recycling technologies are summarized. It is seen that though several recycling processes are reaching a mature stage with implementations at commercial scales in operation, pyrolysis is the most desired recycling technology to date. Further, a short market review discussed in this work highlights that irrespective of a number of challenges faced in adoption of circularity of carbon fibers, key automobile manufacturers have launched many cars and trucks with few of its components manufactured using rCF. Additionally, this work also identifies that more advancements in research and technologies, more tax benefits and funding allocation, need for collaborative business models, boosting, and establishing a more matured market for recovered rCF composites are still necessary for achieving efficient circularity of carbon fibers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalMaterials Circular Economy
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2020


  • Circularity of carbon fibers
  • Carbon fiber recycling technologies
  • rCF automobile applications
  • Challenges and recommendations


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