Amy Fitzgerald


Doctoral Practitioner
MSc Sustainable Development; LLB (Hons) Law

Academic and research departments

Centre for Environment and Sustainability.

My research project

My publications

Publications

Amy M. Fitzgerald, Nathan Wong, Annabel V.L. Fitzgerald, David A Jesson, Ffion Martin, Richard J. Murphy, Tim Young, Ian Hamerton, Marco L Longana (2022)Life Cycle Assessment of the High Performance Discontinuous Fibre (HiPerDiF) Technology and Its Operation in Various Countries, In: Sustainability14(3)1922 MDPI

Composite waste is a growing issue due to the increased global demand for products manufactured from these advanced engineering materials. Current reclamation methods produce short length fibres that, if not realigned during remanufacture, result in low-value additives for non-structural applications. Consequently, to maximise the economic and functional potential, fibre realignment must occur. The High Performance Discontinuous Fibre (HiPerDiF) technology is a novel process that produces highly aligned discontinuous fibre-reinforced composites, which largely meet the structural performance of virgin fibres, but to date, the environmental performance of the machine is yet to be quantified. This study assessed the environmental impacts of the operation of the machine using life cycle assessment methodology. Electrical energy consumption accounts for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions, with water consumption as the main contributor to ecosystem quality damage. Suggestions have been made to reduce energy demand and reuse the water in order to reduce the overall environmental impact. The hypothetical operation of the machine across different European countries was also examined to understand the impacts associated with bulk material transport and electricity from different energy sources. It was observed that the environmental impact showed an inverse correlation with the increased use of renewable sources for electricity generation due to a reduction in air pollutants from fossil fuel combustion. The analysis also revealed that significant reductions in environmental damage from material transport between the reclamation facility to the remanufacturing site should also be accounted for, and concluded that transportation routes predominantly via shipping have a lower environmental impact than road and rail haulage. This study is one of the first attempts to evaluate the environmental impact of this new technology at early conceptual development and to assess how it would operate in a European scenario.