Boeing to Partner with BMW on Carbon Fiber Recycling

By Jesse Sokolow on 12 December 2012
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BMW i3 shown as concept car

Boeing and BMW Group announced plans to collaborate together in joint research on carbon fiber recycling.  The two companies will research and share knowledge about carbon fiber materials and manufacturing processes.

Both companies have pioneered the use of carbon fiber in their products.  The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is composed of 50 percent carbon fiber material, while BMW will, in 2013,  introduce two new vehicles, the i3 and the i8, that have passenger compartments made of carbon fiber.

BMW opened a plant in Moses Lake, Washington in 2011 that will provide parts for its two new models.  Both will be assembled in Leipzig, Germany.

Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire helped secure the location for the plant, and was active in promoting the partnership between the two companies.  Gregoire said that the partnership will help the state further develop its capabilities and leadership in the technology of carbon fiber.

The collaboration between Boeing and the BMW Group is the first in either’s history.  As part of the agreement, the companies will share carbon fiber manufacturing process simulations, as well as ideas for manufacturing automation.

Herbert Diess, a board member for BMW AG for Development, said that Boeing is a suitable partner to collaborate with in the field of carbon fiber.  The company has years of experience using the material, while the BMW Group is known for its use of special manufacturing methods for series production of carbon fiber parts.

(Photo: Jonathan Spira)