Boeing and Oracle Team USA, winner of the 34th America’s Cup, are collaborating to recycle 7,000 pounds of carbon fiber from USA-71, a yacht built for the America’s Cup campaign in 2003. The hull and mast of the racing yacht will be processed and repurposed, a first-of-its-kind effort for what will likely be the largest carbon structure ever recycled.
Working with research partners, they will use a technique developed to recycle composite materials from Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which is 50 percent composite by weight and 20 percent more fuel-efficient than similarly sized aircraft.
“The introduction of composites in yacht construction was a major step in our sport,” said Chris Sitzenstock of Oracle Team USA logistics. “Now, we have the ability to work with Boeing to take the next steps in composite recycling, and to help reduce our environmental footprint. We will also look to recycle carbon components remaining from the build of our yachts.”
Boeing and Oracle Team USA will work with the University of Nottingham in the UK and MIT-RCF, a South Carolina company specializing in repurposing carbon fiber components.
USA-71’s hull will be cut into 4-foot sections and the mast will be chopped into manageable pieces before it is processed. About 75 percent of the recycled composites will come from the hull and the remaining 25 percent from the mast.
The companies have not determined the post-recycling use of the yacht’s carbon fiber, though potential end uses include consumer and industrial products.