For the seventh year in a row, the innovation award Biocomposite of the Year will be granted to producers and inventors of innovative, new applications for biocomposites – Natural Fibre Composites (NFC) and Wood-Plastic Composites (WPC).
There has never been a greater demand for alternatives to classic plastic products as today. Nowadays, up to 80% of plastics can be replaced by biogenic fillers, such as wood flour and cork or by natural fibres for reinforcement. Biocomposites are available for almost every application: packaging, consumer goods, toys, handles, shoes, façade and terrace elements, floors, automotive parts and even room applications.
This year’s nominated companies give a good picture about the emerging application fields for biocomposites: automotive, packaging, casing for consumer goods, instruments as well as solutions for construction such as facades, according to the organisers.
The winners of the innovation award will be selected at the 8th Biocomposites Conference Cologne, in Cologne, next month. Out of 15 applications, six new materials and products have been nominated for the innovation award by the conference advisory board. After a ten minutes presentation at the conference from each of the six candidates, the three winners will be elected by the participants and honoured with the innovation award, at the festive dinner buffet.
The Swiss company Bcomp has developed proprietary light-weighting solutions for high-performance applications by applying the latest composites knowledge to natural fibres. Thanks to powerRibs technology, a reinforcing grid inspired by the thin veins in leaves that is designed to provide maximum stiffness at minimum weight, natural fibres can achieve the performance of carbon fibres in a motorsport body and thus replace them. The result is a 75% lower CO2 footprint, 30% lower costs and improved safety without toxic dust and sharp shattering, as well as viable end-of-life options.
HOMEcap by Golden Compound, from Germany, is the world’s first and only home compostable capsule successfully introduced in the market that is OK compost HOME certified. Biodegradation in home compost avoids considerable waste streams. The capsule was launched on the market the last spring. It is made from a unique compound comprising PTTMCCs PBS and PBSA mixed with sunflower seed shells and inorganic fillers. It comes with a paper and cellulose based lid, sealable to the capsule without additional glue, home compostable as well. The material composition results in low oxygen transmission rates, which allows to avoid additional barrier packaging and is therefore saving waste.
Recell biocomposite by a Dutch company KNN Cellulose is a granulate at competitive pricing and with low environmental impact. The biocomposite is made from recovered toilet paper (a tertiary cellulose source) mixed with a variety of polymers like bio-resins, PLA or PHA. The granulate is suitable for standard injection moulding and extrusion operations. Current applications are e.g. flowerpots, cladding, fencing, decking and crates. The product taking part in the competition is a picnic table produced by EcoDeck. The Recell cellulose fibres are efficiently produced from Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) with Cellvation technology. STPs thereby benefit from lower operational cost, an increase in processing capacity and the fibres are reused instead of incinerated, benefiting their environmental impact dramatically.
Lingrove Ekoa Veneer
US based Lingrove builds high-performance veneers for composites – such as the Ekoa product line with flax fibres and vegetable resins. The veneer has a higher stiffness/weight ratio than steel, is lighter than carbon fibre and has the look of vintage wood. Accordingly, Luttwak guitars made of Ekoa look like wood, but are not made of wood. Lingrove is currently scaling veneer and panel production to meet demand from commercial and residential real estate markets.
Burial coffin made with OrganoComp and 3D fibre moulding
A burial coffin Saga made of Swedish company OrganoClick’s biocomposite, was launched in May 2019. OrganoComp is a patented, 100% bio-based material made of Swedish wood fibres. The binder is based on biopolymers from side streams in the food and pulp industry, such as orange peels and shrimp shells. OrganoComp is produced with a patented production technology for 3D fibre moulding and is replacing particle boards used in burial coffins that contain synthetic glues. The strength of OrganoComp enables 50% raw material reduction of the coffin while maintaining the appearance of traditional coffins.
With BioLite, another Swedish producer Trifilon offers a green alternative to plastics. BioLite is a polypropylene reinforced up to 30% hemp fibres. Trifilon BioLite is a hemp fibre, polypropylene composite that is delivered in granulates for injection moulding machines. Hemp is one of the strongest natural fibres in the world, which makes BioLite products strong, light and durable. The use of hemp fibres in BioLite is designed to optimise the material properties for many applications – The Dometic Coolfun SC 30B thermoelectric cooler is just one example.
Source: Inside Composites