Development and demonstrators of durable biobased composites for a marine environment | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën

SeaBioComp

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Development and demonstrators of durable biobased composites for a marine environment

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Technological Innovation

Lead partner

CENTEXBEL

Start Date

01/03/2019

End Date

28/02/2023

Project budget

4 129 209

ERDF amount

2 477 526

ERDF rate

60%

    About

    Common challenge

    There is a growing demand for plastics and composites for applications in a marine environment. Currently, only petrochemical products are used. In view of the concern about the long-term ecological impact and the pollution of the sea with litter and microplastics, there is a demand from both governments and industry for more environmentally sound alternatives that meet all technological requirements. SeaBioComp partners decided to rise to the challenge by proposing thermoplastic biocomposites which can offer a potential alternative, since they limit greenhouse gas emissions, they can be recycled and potentially have a lower ecotoxicity. At the same time, the materials must meet the highest technical requirements and be resistant to long-term use in a marine environment. At the time, such biocomposites weren’t commercially available yet and the research projects usually focused on thermoset biocomposites with natural fibre reinforcement. The cost of these biocomposites was still high and similar to conventional oil-based composites, while being non-recyclable. The ongoing research into thermoplastic biocomposites (e.g. Bio4Self) however, did not take into account the specific requirements set for applications in a marine environment.

    Main Achievements

    There is a growing demand for composites for applications in a marine environment due to the growing markets for fish and seaweed farming, energy harvesting, boats, anchoring and buoy elements. In the past, only petrol-based composites were being used. Concern is growing about the long-term ecological impact. There is a need for renewable materials to be developed, reducing the depletion of the fossil-based materials, limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, and reducing the ecotoxic impact of microplastics. At the same time, the materials need to meet the highest technical performance and withstand the long term harsh marine environment, which includes mechanical forces, aggressive environment and intense UV light. SeaBioComp developed demonstrator bio-based composites to potentially replace traditional petrol-based composites commonly used in the marine industries. The partnership, based on literature review and test results, made a selection of the biobased building blocks to be used in the project.

    During the first 2 years of the project, 4 different production routes were examined to produce 100% biobased composites, both self-reinforced and flax fiber reinforced composites. At the same time, tests to determine long-term durability, microplastics formation and ecotoxicological effects on marine species were developed. 

    In 2021, the project took the next steps in developing the composites on a larger scale to make demonstrators. For the self-reinforced composites and flax-reinforced composites via compression moulding, an object with double curvature and high draft angle has been made. A wind turbine blade has been made via monomer infusion technology and via 3D-printing two different products have been made, being a fender profile and a harbour mooring product. In the last year of the project, the research focused on two parts, being the in-depth analysis of the demonstrators (mechanical tests, microplastics formation, long-term durability, ecotoxicological effects and Life Cycle Assessment) and the recycling possibilities of the developed materials. The SeaBioComp partnership promoted the project using different communication channels to achieve a high awareness of the project which resulted in strong registrations for the online Interest Group. Additionally, the SeaBioComp website attracts large numbers of monthly visitors. 

    Testimonial

    “Bio-based or renewable polymers, could prove to be a viable substitute for conventional oil-based polymers in many applications with significantly reduced greenhouse emission and potential biodegradability.”

    Partnership

    Partners

    CETI - Centre Européen des Textiles Innovants

    VLIZ - Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee

    Association pour la Recherche et le Développement des Méthodes et Processus Industriels (ARMINES)

    Poly Products

    University of Plymouth

    University of Portsmouth

    Marine South East Ltd

    Euramaterials

    IFREMER

    REWIN

    Outputs

    Output title
    Type
    Target
    URL / Download
    31/01/2022

    SeaBioComp

    Theme: Technological innovationMarine resources

    Pilot product of biocomposites: produced via self reinforced thermoplastic biopolymer formulations

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: SMEs /enterprises
    30/09/2021

    SeaBioComp

    Theme: Technological innovationMarine resources

    Pilot product of biocomposites: produced via self reinforced thermoplastic biopolymer formulations.

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: SMEs /enterprises
    30/09/2021

    SeaBioComp

    Theme: Technological innovationMarine resources

    Pilot product of biocomposites: natural fibre reinforced thermoplastic biocomposite using compression moulding

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: SMEs /enterprises
    30/09/2021

    SeaBioComp

    Theme: Technological innovationMarine resources

    Pilot product of biocomposite: produced via biomonomer infusion of Natural fibre reinforcements and in situ polymerisation

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: SMEs /enterprises
    30/06/2021

    SeaBioComp

    Theme: Technological innovationMarine resources

    Test methods for ecotoxicity and marine impact of biopolymers and biocomposites

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: Universities, research and training centres
    30/06/2020

    SeaBioComp

    Theme: Technological innovationMarine resources

    Industrial additive manufacturing installation adapted to process natural fibre reinforced biopolymer formulation

    Type: Prototype
    Target: SMEs /enterprises

    SeaBioComp

    Theme: Technological innovationMarine resources

    Test methods adapted for durability evaluation of biopolymer and biocomposites for use in sea area

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: Universities, research and training centres