What are the potential impacts?


Technology benefits to SME producers:

  • Reduce energy cost of heating and cooling by at least 50%
  • Reduce curing cycle time by at least 50%
  • Achieve better quality products through ability to better focus curing energy
  • Increase the level of automation
  • Reduction of the embedded carbon dioxide emissions  associated for fiber reinforced products

Despite the fact that a microwave oven costs nearly 2.5 times as much in initial investment compared to a conventional oven, the major energy savings that can be made can enable a payback period that is shorter than that for an oven or autoclave. As can be seen,the potential cost saving of substituting a conventional oven by a microwave curing oven is very significant. However, in order to maximize the potential we also need to develop simple tools and procedures to reduce the set up time required for each type of component.


Overall market impact:

The overall aim of the Mu-Tool project is to provide our SME partneswith a viable, lowenergy consumption alternative to conventional curing technologies. Hence, our target in termsof market impact will relate to adoption of the Project Results by our SME partners.


Environmental benefits:

Heating and cooling accounts for nearly 50% of total energy demand in Europe. Industrialprocess heat makes up a significant part of this. Mu-Tool will help to make a significant savingin the energy consumption of fiber reinforced composite product manufacturers. Based on ouranticipated energy savings and our market penetration rate we have calculated average annualenergy saving of 174 MWh per company. This represents a saving of 52,200 kg ofCO2 emissions. This translates into an annual saving of 152 GWhby 2020, and 46m tones of CO2 emissions once 10% market penetration is achieved.


Benefits to Europe:

Mu-Tool will provide significant benefits to our industry. The main benefits to Europe will bein terms of improve competitiveness of an important manufacturing sector (transport andmaterials); maintenance and creation of skilled jobs; energy saving in industry; reduced relianceon imported energy and reduced green house gas missions. Considering that demand for fiberreinforced products has suffered due to a combination of current economic  conditions andcompetition from low labor cost countries, maintaining jobs in this sector is a top priority.Decreasing the cost of composites has the potential to make them more cost competitive withother materials. Hence, this could lead in overall increases in demand which will help oursector to gain new business and expand.