Onal M., NEŞER G.

ADVANCED COMPOSITES LETTERS, vol.27, no.4, pp.134-141, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.134-141
  • Keywords: GRP boat building, Hand lay-up method, Vacuum infusion method, Recycling techniques of thermoset composites, Life cycle assessment (LCA), Recreational boat, Boat building industry, CYCLE ASSESSMENT
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Glass reinforced polyester (GRP), as a thermoset polymer composites, dominates boat building industry with its several advantages such as high strength/weight ratio, cohesiveness, good resistance to environment. However, proper recovering and recycling of GRP boats is became a current environmental requirement that should be met by the related industry. In this study, to propose in a cost effective and environmentally friendly way, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been carried out for six scenarios include two moulding methods (namely Hand Lay-up Method, HLM and Vacuum Infusion Method, VIM) and three End-of-Life (EoL) alternatives(namely Extruding, Incineration and Landfill) for a recreational boat's GRP hulls. A case study from raw materials purchasing phase to disposal/recycling stages has been established taking 11 m length GRP boat hull as the functional unit.Analysis show that in the production phase, the impacts are mainly due to the use of energy (electricity), transport and raw material manufacture. Largest differences between the methods considered (HLM and VIM) can be observed in the factors of marine aquatic ecotoxicity and eutrophication while the closest ones are abiotic depletion, ozon layer depletion and photochemical oxidation. The environmental impact of VIM is much higher than HLM due to its higher energy consumption while vacuum infusion method has lower risk than hand lay-up method in terms of occupational health by using less raw material (resin) in a closed mold. In the comparison of the three EoL techniques, the mechanical way of recycling (granule extruding) shows better environmental impacts except terrestrial ecotoxicity, photochemical oxidation and acidification. Among the EoL alternatives, landfill has the highest environmental impacts except 'global warming potential' and 'human toxicity' which are the highest in extrusion. The main cause of the impacts of landfill is the transportation needs between the EoL boats and the licenced landfill site. Although it has the higher impact on human toxicity, incineration is the second cleaner alternative of EoL techniques considered in this study. In fact that the similar trend has been observed both in production and EoL phases of the boat. It is obvious that using much more renewable energy mix and greener transportation alternative can reduce the overall impact of the all phases considerably.