LIST opens an innovation centre focusing on sustainable composite materials

The programme is supported by major names in European transport and partly funded by the Luxembourg Government through the Ministry of Research and the Ministry of the Economy.

LIST opens an innovation centre focusing on sustainable composite materials

3 minutes, 40 secondes

How can global warming be the trigger for creating an innovation centre for sustainable composite materials? It’s quite simple. In Luxembourg, the transport sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for more than 60% of the total. As part of the European effort to achieve net zero emissions in 2050, each country must present its own roadmap to reduce its emissions. The Luxembourg Government therefore understandably wants to focus its efforts on the transport sector.

The Ministry of Research and the Ministry of the Economy strongly support the initiative behind the Sustainable Composite Materials and Manufacturing Innovation Centre (SCMM), recently opened by LIST’s Materials Department. This new structure’s main goal is to develop composite materials with a very low carbon footprint and to demonstrate their benefits using specific application demonstrators in the automotive, rail, space and aeronautics sectors and in future urban air mobility.

Manufacturers at the heart of the project
The innovation centre’s activities will respond as closely as possible to the future needs of the transport market, which is facing the greatest transformation in its history. The initiative will therefore involve four major players in European transport, namely Toyota, Airbus, Thales Alenia Space and Alstom, who will share their visions regarding the technological needs of vehicles of the future.

LIST’s mission will then be to accelerate the use of bio-based and/or recyclable materials for ultra-lightweight functional parts, and to develop industrial processes with a low carbon footprint. These technological building blocks will be integrated in the form of demonstrators developed and constructed with the involvement of composite material manufacturers, members of the SCMM. For example, this may concern vehicle bodywork or interior panels, structural vehicle components, battery cases or hydrogen tanks.

In order to work with the innovation centre, subcontractors from the major automotive, aeronautics, rail or space groups will have to become a member by paying an annual fee. They will then have access to the results of all SCMM research projects and will be able to buy the industrial property developed. Several Luxembourg and European companies will join the SCMM.

A budget of more than EUR 16 million
This innovation programme will initially last four years with a budget of more than EUR 16 million, co-funded by LIST, the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, the Ministry of the Economy and members from industry. In particular, it will include an investment of EUR 3 million from LIST for new industrial technologies to complement the composite platform provided by the Institute’s Materials Department.

Claude Meisch, Minister for Higher Education and Research: “The SCMM-IC, by covering the entire innovation chain, from fundamental research to applied research, with the ultimate objective of transferring and using the results in the priority sectors of the automotive, aeronautics and space industries, is perfectly in line with the national research and innovation strategy. Through its activities, the LIST innovation centre contributes to both the strengthening of the research infrastructure and to economic diversification.”

Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy: “Achieving climate neutrality will require significant technological developments to make functional materials and structures lighter or even ultra-light. Composite materials are particularly well suited to meeting this challenge if we can also make them recyclable or even biosourced. The new innovation centre at LIST enables Luxembourg to play a pioneering role in this field, which constitutes a tremendous opportunity to make both the economy and society more sustainable.”  

Thomas Kallstenius, CEO of LIST: “We are proud to announce the launch of our innovation centre for sustainable composite materials and manufacturing. The ultra-lightweight composite materials developed in this centre are designed with sustainability in mind. They are often made from recycled and renewable resources, resulting in a lower carbon footprint than traditional materials. We are committed to sustainability and are delighted to offer these innovative materials and solutions to partners in the first research programme of its kind in Luxembourg.”

Damien Lenoble, Director of the Materials Research and Technology Department at LIST: “The transport sector is experiencing and will continue to experience a remarkable transformation over the next 30 years: electric cars, hydrogen-powered vehicles and aircraft, urban air mobility and space transport of the future will all rely on ultra-lightweight, recyclable structural materials with a low carbon footprint. These are all criteria that make sustainable composite materials and their manufacturing processes one of the technological mainstays of this transformation. This innovation centre is quite unique because it aims to tackle one of the weak spots of European industry: the rapid transition from research results to the real economy by bringing together, in an ambitious innovation programme, end-users (OEMs), national and international players in the composite materials sector and LIST researchers. In this regard, we are honoured that world leaders in the aeronautics (Airbus), automotive (Toyota), rail (Alstom) and space (Thales Alenia) industries are involved in this first innovation centre at LIST.”

More information www.list.lu