Today, let’s look back at one of the most important and exciting years in the history of Bcomp. We made some momentous and ground-breaking strides in our mission to bring circular, natural fibre composites to the world. With sustainable lightweighting and waste minimisation high on the agenda for many industries, we were perfectly placed to make the most of some wonderful opportunities. This meant we had a very busy year – as you will soon see!
Our technologies, ampliTex™ and powerRibs™, continue to find their way into performance products and innovative applications at the highest level. From kiteboards, skis, and designer luggage through to world-leading motorsport programmes, motorcycles, and – with much anticipation – production automotive.
This year, we also attended a number of fantastic events alongside our customers, including Autosport International, JEC World, VivaTech, Professional Motorsport World Expo and Advanced Engineering. As always, we enjoyed the opportunity to catch up and have enriching face-to-face discussions.
So, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of 2023:
This has been one of the most important projects in the history of Bcomp. We were thrilled to work with Volvo on the new EX30, using ampliTex™ to produce visual interior components at volume. Volvo offers the all-electric EX30 with a selection of interior trims, two of which (the Mist and Pine ‘rooms’) fully embrace the natural aesthetics of woven ampliTex™ flax fibres.
Not only has this project demonstrated our ability to scale for mass production, but it has also secured our position as a leading automotive supplier of natural fibre composites. This collaboration reflects a shared commitment to sustainability and aligns with Volvo Cars’ goal to sell only all-electric cars by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2040.
Polestar and Bcomp share a common vision of redefining luxury in automotive interiors through the innovative use of sustainable materials. We worked with Polestar to design a unique signature weave made with ampliTex™ to replace otherwise standard interior trim components with an aesthetically pleasing alternative that is both lightweight and more sustainable than traditional plastic material.
The Polestar seatback is designed with the aesthetic and technological needs of tomorrow, expressing a premium, modern, and sustainable style. By using Bcomp’s materials for this high-volume interior part, plastic content is reduced by up to 50% and the total weight of the component is reduced by up to 40% compared to traditional materials and techniques.
In the fall, Bcomp also had the honour of playing a key role in Polestar Day in Los Angeles and at the Polestar Space Zurich. At both events, we had the opportunity to explain the history of our partnership with Polestar and the industrialisation of Bcomp’s sustainable technologies for premium road cars. Composites based on Bcomp’s materials will be used in several Polestar models, including the Polestar 3.
We worked with Vernicolor, a leader in high-end automotive decorative parts, to develop back-injected parts for automotive interiors using Bcomp’s thermoplastic ampliTex™-PP materials. These combine the benefits of back-injection (speed, precision, and cost efficiency) with the environmental and performance benefits of natural fibre composites. It is yet another collaboration that is positioning Bcomp at the global forefront of sustainable lightweighting in the automotive industry.
Super Formula & Dallara
In one of our greatest motorsport projects to date, we worked alongside Dallara and Super Formula in the development of the SF23 racecar. This four-year collaboration aims to enhance sustainability in racing materials and technology, setting a groundbreaking standard for sustainable motorsport design and production.
A key part of fulfilling this ambition was the use of ampliTex™ in the racecar’s bodywork, using a 70:30 mix of natural fibre and carbon fibre. This exhilarating project signals a significant shift towards more sustainable practices in motorsport and Bcomp’s role at the leading edge. It also won Professional Motorsport World’s 2023 Chassis Technology Award and was nominated as a finalist for the 2023 World Motorsport Symposium Green Tech Award.
Four Motors is renowned in the GT racing world for its 20-year history at the forefront of sustainable motorsport innovation. The German team has championed renewable and recycled materials since their inception and has been an important motorsport collaborator for Bcomp. Competing in legendary races like the Nürburgring 24 Hours, Four Motors has used ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ in high-performance composite components throughout the bodywork and interiors of their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, and Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport 981.
Our long-standing collaboration with international ski brand K2 has seen the successful integration of ampliTex™ into many high-performance skis. We have worked with K2 since 2013, with the collaboration growing amidst shared interest in using natural fibre composites in snowsports. In 2023, this was the Dispatch range, which pioneered the use of a full-layer flax reinforcement for improved terrain tracking and comfort. While sustainability was an important factor for K2, the use of our composite technologies was just as much about performance. For the 23/24 season, K2 has expanded its use of ampliTex™ to the iconic Mindbender C collection.
Our natural fibre composites continue to excel in sports equipment applications, this time entering the exciting world of kitesurfing. In 2023, we worked with international kitesurfing brands; Duotone, Airush, and AK Durable Supply Co.
The brand’s 2024 collection incorporates ampliTex™ natural fibre reinforcement in the Select and Soleil twin tip kiteboards in Duotones Concept Blue Range. These boards are designed with sustainable materials and manufactured with 100% renewable energy, making them Duotone’s most ecologically responsible products ever.
Earlier in 2023, Airush launched the Apex Eco board, which features ampliTex™. The mix of the Bcomp’s flax fibre and basalt reinforcements allowed Airush to maximise stiffness between the feet while the ampliTex™ also improved damping for a smooth ride in choppy conditions and “buttery” landings.
AK Durable Supply Co.
We worked with AK Durable Supply Co. to develop its new Method RS Harness with FlaxFusion construction. The composite harness was designed using years of composite experience to offer a 3-stage flex pattern, with added edge flex, and accurate anatomical curvature. The ampliTex™ hardback provides maximum stiffness throughout the centre while allowing flexibility along the harness edge to match the user’s movements.
From kites to aircraft, our sustainable composites found a new home in designer luggage from HORIZN STUDIOS. This collaboration set out to create the world’s most sustainable luxury luggage, the Circle One range, using BioX technology – a patented hard-shell innovation using ampliTex™. This is made all the more interesting with HORIZN STUDIOS offering a repair service that aims to turn repaired spots into “travel tokens” – a novel idea to minimise waste.
We continued our work in the motorcycle industry via a collaboration with LiveWire, the all-electric Harley-Davidson spin-out. LiveWire worked with Bleach Design Werks to customise a LiveWire ONE electric motorcycle for tattoo artist Brian Woo (known as Dr. Woo).
The bike, named “Silent Dancer”, was inspired by the Japanese concept of Ikigai, integrating passions for riding, fashion, and art into a unique machine. Part of the customisation was a focus on sustainability, so the team replaced carbon fibre and plastic parts with ampliTex™ composites, making the most of a stunning “exposed” weave.
While 2023 will be a tough one to surpass, all the pieces are in place for an even more impressive sequel. With a foothold in production automotive, expansive efforts in motorsport, and many interesting applications in sports, luxury goods, and furniture, the future is looking bright and full of natural fibres.
We have some exciting reveals in store for JEC World 2024 (5-7 March in Paris) and plan to make the most of our incredible push into the automotive industry. Our success in production volume applications now means that we are prepared for other large-scale sectors, offering sustainable lightweighting technologies to an ever-greater number of innovative applications.