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Natural Material Innovation

Sustainable Living
 

 

 

FLOWER (Flax composites, LOW weight, End of life and Recycling) aims to develop novel, low-cost, light-weight, non-woven and woven flax fibre reinforcements for the local composites industry. Biodegradable and bio-based thermoplastics will also be explored to ensure end-of-life sustainability. The outcomes from this project will enable achieving the aspiration of transforming natural fibre composites as cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, light-weight and viable alternatives to glass fibre composites for the automotive, marine, and point-of-sales advertising sectors.

As deliverables of the project, structural components of a flying boat (hydrofoil), which will make its maiden journey across the English Channel, automotive roof panels, and point-of-sales advertising display boards will be made with the developed flax composite material technologies.

The use of composites is widespread in industry: they account for about 20% of the mass of an automobile and almost all that of pleasure boats. They are currently made of glass fibers and a non-recyclable resin. The products developed in FLOWER will reduce the environmental impact of these materials thanks to their lightness but also to their local character, biodegradable or recyclable. They will fully replace glass fibers in ships and auto parts developed. The biocomposite market lacks suitable products. Too often, the reinforcements have architectures specific to the textile industry and little compatible with the requirements of composites. This constitutes a major lack for their development.

FLOWER therefore proposes to respond to a real industrial demand by developing two main types of semi-finished products: i) non-woven reinforcements with a low grammage (50 gsm versus 200 gsm currently) or with recyclable polymers and, ii) long fiber reinforcements for structural applications. They will benefit the consortium companies and all those who will be affected by the transfer actions.

FLOWER is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the framework of the INTERREG VA France (Manche) / England cross-border cooperation program. FLOWER has a total budget of €4 717 674.56 (including €3 179 427.16 European Union (ERDF – Interreg FCE) co-financing) and will run for 56 months, up to September 2022.

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Further information can be found on the FLOWER project website.

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