JEC Group have brought together the international community of composites leaders and executives in our Composites Circle as an unique networking opportunity to meet with both peers and future partners.
The European Commission has decided to invest 6.5 million euros in a large-scale project aimed at developing sustainable wood-based composite materials for a wide range of applications. The SustainComp project involves 17 organizations around Europe and is coordinated by the Swedish R&D company STFI-Packforsk AB.
(Published on October 2008 – JEC Magazine #44)
In the wake of climate change and increasing oil prices, the demand for sustainable, lightweight materials capable of replacing oil-based products has increased. At the same time, bioplastic production capacities are growing. Combining bioplastics and nanotechnology is an approach that meets the technical demands involved in replacing oil-based materials with sustainable, renewable ones.
SustainComp aims at introducing several new families of advanced nanostructured wood-based biocomposites intended for a number of commercial sectors, such as transportation and packaging. The production of these new materials can integrate large companies on the raw material and end-use sides (e.g. pulp mills and packaging manufacturers), and small- and medium-sized businesses on the composite processing side (e.g. compounders and composite manuacturers). This will generate opportunities for the existing wood-based industry to conquer new markets while creating openings for new companies, business models and areas. For the existing wood-based industry, it is also a step towards becoming a modernized industry.
MIKAEL ANKERFORS, COORDINATOR, SUSTAINCOMP
Objectives and structure
The SustainComp project has three main objectives. First, combining eco-design, innovative materials solutions and process developments to develop new advanced demonstrators. Second, solving a number of generic problems in order to significantly widen the properties of sustainable biocomposites and open larger potential markets. And third, minimizing the environmental impact. As part of the third objective, the successful, cost-effective manufacturing of nanocellulose is also expected to hit other areas such as the food (rheology modifiers) and the paper/board & coating sectors.
To achieve these objectives, the project will be implemented on three structural levels: the molecular/nano level (Component), the micro-structural level (Composite) and the macro level (Product). Hence, the whole development chain will be covered through five tightly connected technical work packages, from structural component development and composite processing to market analysis and ecodesign concepts.
Demonstrators and prototypes will be made for certain applications to illustrate the performance of the new materials developed under SustainComp. The targeted items are: