PRYSMIAN Cables & Systems Business sustainability Support

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  • Context: MT Medium Voltage power cables mainly consist of cross-linked Polyethylene (XLPE) insulating material, or rubber (EPR); the cross-linking of insulating material is difficult to recycle at the end of its life. Prysmian Group has developed a new type of Medium Voltage power cable consisting of not cross-linked thermoplastic material, supposedly easier to be recycled.
  • Objective: Prysmian Group has entrusted R&D innovAction the task of evaluating:
    - The real recyclability of these new MV cable, consisting of totally thermoplastic materials
    - The estimation of the environmental impact reduction of lower CO2 emissions and the improvement of the product relating to its Carbon Foot Print.
  • Activity and results: After a first phase of material characterization in laboratory, a cable recycling company has been identified and has carried out a test pilot for the recovery of not-metallic materials from a piece of full size cable

Plastic products of different sizes have been manufactured by utilizing these materials and have been properly regenerated.


A - Plastic pallets (upper figure): a high-growth product for its longer lasting and complete recyclability at the end-of-life compared to wooden pallets which are more difficult to be disposed.  Both the workability and the performance of these plastic pallets are in compliance with the reference quality standard
B - Little plastic components (washers, bolts, etc)



In this way it has been demonstrated the total recyclability at industrial level of the new MV thermoplastic power cables, both of the product, when it is sent to disposal, and of any industrial wastes resulting from its manufacture.
This creates an environmental impact improvement compared to the conventional cables with XLPE as it allows the total recovery of material without dumping.  It achieves “Zero Landfill” and the support of the Business Sustainability, as stated in the Directive of the EEC Green Public Procurement.

The evaluation of the life cycle, Life Cycle Assessment, LCA, of this new type of cable highlights a significantly reduced environmental impact compared to conventional XLPE cables due to:
- The use of materials with reduced emission of CO2 resulting from their production;
- A significant reduction in energy consumption during the various production phases of the cable;
- Complete recyclability.
These considerations combine for a reduction of the total equivalent CO2 emissions, with a remarkable reduction of the Carbon Foot Print for the new cables compared to the conventional ones.