End-of-Life boats, reuse of GRP... latest news!

End-of-Life boats, reuse of GRP... latest news!

A few months ago we looked into several ways in which glassfibre (GRP) sections from dismantled recreational boats can recycled into new products.

One of these ways is being pioneered by Dr.lr. Albert Ten Busschen at the Polymer Engineering faculty of Windesheim Applied Sciences University in the Netherlands. Since the publishing of the previous article, Albert has provided us with a detailed article, which explains the process of ‘remanufacturing’ GRP material into reconstituted durable thermoset composite panels. If the trial version can be replicated in volume, and in an economically viable way, these panels could be used as retaining walls that can be placed alongside thousands of miles of canals in the Netherlands.

The article, which suggests that the up-cycled panels could be used for other industrial applications, appeared in the latest issue of the ‘Report Magazine’, published by the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS).

You will be able to read the article here, as a courtesy of Dr Albert ten Busschen and IIMS:


 Learn more about End-of-Life Boats, at METSTRADE 2017

We are excited to announce that Albert ten Busschen is joining our panel of experts at the Innovation Stage area of the METSTRADE show on November 14th at 13.00 hrs. This panel will discuss several the challenges presented by ELB’s, and the most recent developments in sustainability within the marine industry. The issue affects millions of boats that are reaching end-of-life, or end-of-use in the coming decades.

The session aims to broadcast the subject to a wider audience, and to encourage a more entrepreneurial mindset in addressing the challenges. The focus will lie on environmental awareness and financial health.

The panel line up will be as follows:

  • Albert Willemsen - Environmental Consultant, ICOMIA. (Moderator)
  • Neil Chapman – CEO, Boatshed.com.
  • Willem Dekker – President, European Boating Association.
  • Jeroen van den Heuvel - Membership Manager, HISWA.
  • Pierre Barbleu - President, APER boat dismantling network, France.
  • Dr. Albert ten Busschen - Professor of plastics technology, Windesheim University.  

The earlier METSTRADE.com articles on this subject can be viewed here:

We look forward to meeting you at the ELB panel discussion at the METSTRADE Innovation Stage on Tuesday November 14th at 13.00, which has allocated time for questions and input from the audience.

Questions and comments for the ELB panel pcan be posted in the comment box below.

  • this is a very interesting project that should be exposed to other countries such as Spain, here we have no canals but there is plenty of boats to be scraped and disposed of. being able to recycle the material into something useful, worth more than the cost of the transformation is a great challenge. i all see you at the METS

  • Thanks good to know! I'm sure you can meet people here and during Mets who can help you with this! It's a topic we talk about a lot. Maybe it's interesting to ask some other people who do know a lot about this to get in touch with you. for example?

  • Thanks David De Haro Malo de Molina for your comments to my article. It's been stimulating to see how this challenge has attracted more attention from our industry during the last couple of years.  Still plenty to do, but solutions are being found. Jose Luis Fayos from ANEN in Spain has presented information about recycling activities in Spain at our METS conferences in 2015/16. I know for sure he'll be available again this year if  you would like to meet him when you are at METS.  I'll be at the Barcelona Boat Show next week, if you're going maybe we can meet up? If not, I'll look forward to see you in Amsterdam in November.

  • An interesting aspect of this topic is: How can concious choise of materials and methods make the process easier or better. Nowadays, most boats ready for recycling are made of primitive versions of GRP or steel/ aluminium. I assume that sandwhich hulls are more complex to recycle? What about more high end resins like epoxy? Or fibres like aramid or karbon? Are there other materials we should try to look more at? All the mentioned materials are on the rise and will sooner or later reach the other end of the life cycle.

    My guess is that in the quite near future, producers will need to have recycling sorted out before they produce. Customers are getting more concious and ask questions. The forward looking producer will use this as an opportunity to attract attention and customers. Other producers will be forced to follow. Probably regulations will also be introduced.

  • Many thanks for your comments to this article. Indeed when we look at the typical construction of yachts that are being dismantled for disposal and recycling today, we see that during the original design and build phases of the boat, there has been little (or no) thought given to how that process can be made easier at end-of-life. For instance, seperating lining materials from GRP sections can be a hugely time consuming job, before even considering how to chop up and recycle the GRP itself. I hope you are right, and that we will soon follow the automotive industry where the major manufacturers can already demonstrate the recyclability for all the car's components at end-of-life, and some are even using internal linings that are naturally biodegradable. For sure the boat builders who take the lead with these forward looking concepts will find a market niche with environmentally conscious customers, and soon force others to follow their example.