Phasing out oil-based composites
SeaBioComp, is a new collaborative project that has been launched to develop and produce novel bio-based thermoplastic composite materials.
The project has also established analytical protocols to evaluate long-term durability and reduced ecological impact on the marine environment.
The SeaBioComp project held a successful kick-off meeting in Lille in April 2019 bringing together all 11 partners from the 2Seas region covering the coastal regions along the southern North Sea and the Channel area including 4 EU-member states: England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The project will develop ‘demonstrator’ bio-based composite alternatives to potentially replace traditional fibre-reinforced composites commonly used in the marine industries. Traditional oil-based products including fishing and seaweed farming components, energy harvesting equipment, boats, pontoons, anchoring and buoy parts are potentially being addressed by the project.
The bio-composites will not only reduce the depletion of fossil-based resources but should also limit the emission of greenhouse gases and the ecotoxic impact of microplastics, while allowing recycling through the use of thermoplastic bio-polymers. Through the development of the bio-composite demonstrators, the project aims to significantly shift the perception within the marine industries that the use of bio-based composites can offer a realistic and viable alternative. The demonstrators and developed analytical protocols will help both industry and public authorities to address the growing concern regarding the global production and consumption of oil-based plastic materials and the long-term ecological impact of plastic litter and microplastics in the marine environment.
The group of research institutions, university research groups, SME’s and specialist cluster organizations have come together under the EU Interreg 2 Seas programme, within the Technological Innovation theme. SeaBioComp is led by Centexbel (BE) and combines experts in polymer research, textile and composite formation with marine institutes, sector cluster organisations and public authorities.
The project runs from March 2019 to August 2022 and has an overall budget of €4,1M, supported by €2.5M (60%) from the European Regional Development Fund.
By Jake Frith
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