Project budget4 129 325 €
ERDF amount2 477 595 €
There is a growing demand for composites for applications in a marine environment due to the growing markets for fish & seaweed farming, energy harvesting, boats, pontons, anchoring and buoy elements, etc. (cfrs Solent LEP – Innovation strategy 2016 , The blue cluster, Flemish spearhead cluster) At present only petrol-based composites are applied. Concern is growing about the long-term ecological impact. Litter and microplastics are contaminating the sea, having a detrimental impact on sea-life (cfr Flemish action plan against litter in sea). Therefore, renewable materials should be developed; reducing the depletion of the fossil based materials, limiting emission of greenhouse gases and reducing ecotoxic impact of microplastics. At the same time, the materials should meet the highest technical performance and withstand longterm harsh sea environment including mechanical forces, aggressive environment, intense UV light etc. Meeting this duality is a major challenge.
eaBioComp wants to deliver demonstrators of innovative biobased thermoplastic composites; with
- at least equivalent mechanical properties,
- with -application dependent- tailored durability (2 to >20 years),
- with reduced CO2 emission (30%), and reduced ecotoxic impact (due to microplastics). Since thermoplastic composites are envisaged, the recycling potential of recovered materials will be demonstrated as well. Overall the ecologic impact should be reduced by >50% compared to conventional oil-based counterparts.
This should lead to a shift in mindset along the value chain, that the biobased composites offer a realistic alternative for the oil based counterparts. As a consequence, the implementation of the bioeconomy concept for marine applications can be activated and implemented by a multitude of especially SME companies. Public authorities can take the proven advantages into account for legislation and public procurement.
- a set of min. 4 semi-industrial pilots of thermoplastic biocomposites, representing the different composite production techniques and with tailored durability
- realisation of a pilot production machine for additive manufacturing of fibre-reinforced thermoplastic biocomposites at a large scale (1 by 1.5 by 2 meter).
- optimised analytical protocols to characterise and prove the tailored durability and measure the ecotoxicity effects of the biocomposites in a marine environment
- proven reduction of ecological impact by at least 50%.
- the formation of a collaborative transregional cluster (7 RTO’s, 6 associations and 6 companies, 2 public authorities), that will promote a closer, more effective and operational cooperation among the key stakeholders within the bioecononomy (Key Enabling Technology) and more specific the biocomposites for marine environment
Cross border approach
Top expertise in the domains of biopolymer formulation and textiles (Centexbel & CETI), composite formation (ARMINES, UPlymouth & PolyProducts BV), durability tests in sea environment and ecologic impact (UPortsmouth, VLIZ & IFremer) is available in a number of renowned institutes along the “2 seas area”. For each domain at least 2 institutes from different regions were selected for strengthening the cross-border cooperation and bringing together the required expertise essential to realise the defined outputs in this multi-disciplinary development. Associations (Matikem, MSE, The blue cluster, Werkendam, British Marine) public authorities (Rewin, Ovam) and private companies representing the different regions are completing the consortium. This strengthens the collaboration, facilitates the dissemination and cross-border industrial developments and will contribute to the change of mind set towards the biobased economy, supported by public procurement, standardisation and legislation.