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Driving Sustainable Innovation

How can motorsport help tackle climate change?

As motorsport begins to overcome the challenges of racing alongside the threat of COVID-19, there is a much bigger and more long-term threat facing the industry: climate change. Unfortunately, motorsport is per say not particularly eco-friendly. At the same time, there is a great opportunity to leverage the motorsports’ trademark expertise and innovative culture and use it to develop and scale sustainable and energy efficient technologies which can then trickle down into wider society.

Motorsport for Sustainable Innovations

On one hand motorsport is the sport most threatened by climate change but on the other, it is the only sport that can tackle climate change directly”, highlights Johann Wacht, Motorsport Manager at Bcomp. “This is the paradox of motorsport from John Glenn, retired EPA Official and Founder of U.S. Governments Green Racing Program.  We as a sport and industry have the power to decide whether motorsport promotes the wasteful use of energy or promotes sustainable innovation.

 

So how can motorsport achieve the latter? Well, motorsport provides a fantastic platform to showcase technologies and, with the brutal environment of racing pushing components to their limits, motorsport is the perfect proving ground. This is why Bcomp has developed ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ natural fibre composite materials for motorsport applications; to drive sustainable innovation whilst proving the feasibility on the highest level of performance engineering.

Replacing Carbon Fibres with Natural Fibres

Bcomp’s powerRibs™ technology consists of specifically engineered flax fibre yarns that have been woven together into a reinforcement grid. Combined with fabrics such as ampliTex™ they form a 3D grid structure on the b-side of parts, allowing to produce high performance thin-walled shell elements such as bodyworks. This sustainable lightweighting solution adds maximum stiffness at minimal weight and does not splinter under deformation like carbon fibre, improving safety on the racetrack. These benefits make powerRibs™ an ideal solution for race car bodywork and now this technology has transferred to road car interiors.

From Race to Road

“When you have an innovation, manufacturers want to see proof of concept and without proof of concept, there is little opportunity to scale,” highlights Wacht. “Motorsport gives us the opportunity to scale our natural fibre composites from smaller series of ten cars to larger series with a hundred cars. It proves that our materials are easy to scale up and are cost efficient, which shows OEM’s how quickly our materials could be adopted to road car applications, and thereby benefit the wider society.” 

 

It is not only the opportunity to showcase performance and scalability in motorsports that is helping Bcomp drive sustainable innovation into the automotive sector, but also motorsport’s increasing levels of road relevance. The surface quality of GT categories is now closer to road car standards than ever before. So Bcomp’s powerRibs™ have already been developed to meet the high quality requirements automotive manufacturers expect.

Remaining Agile and Maximising Impact

An additional advantage of working within motorsport is its competitive culture and short go to market times. This demands Bcomp to be agile, innovate quickly and accelerate development.

 

”Our motorsport customers continue to drive the performance and efficiency of our technologies together with our R&D department and Bcomp as a whole, because race teams work to short deadlines and usually need their parts yesterday,” says Wacht.

 

“Meeting the demands of motorsports helps us maximise performance, while at the same time proving the concept for serial production. The dynamics of the motorsports industry makes it a very interesting market. We want to play an important role in scaling up sustainable innovations within the sport and transfer them to wider applications in all mobility sectors. We believe that motorsport has recognized the momentum and will use its powerful tools to tackle climate change”, Wacht concludes.

Recent News

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Oct 03, 2023

AK Durable Supply Co Method RS FlaxFusion Harness With ampliTex™

The beginning of fall season in the northern hemisphere also marks the prime time for launching new kitesurf gear. We’ve recently taken a look at our flax fibres taking a prominent role in kiteboards and improving their performance while replacing synthetic materials with a more sustainable alternative. Now we can expand the list of kiteboard gear with our ampliTex™ flax fibres by another great piece. AK Durable Supply Co has just introduced their new Method RS harness with FlaxFusion construction. Featuring ampliTex™, the Method RS FlaxFusion waist harness comes with ergonomic hardback support and the Aerobar RS quick ratchet adjustment. Designed using years of composite experience, the new Method RS harness has a 3-stage flex pattern with added edge flex and accurate anatomical curvature for the ultimate ergonomic fit. The ampliTex™ hardback combines maximum stiffness through the center with flexibility along the harness edge and flexes along with your body’s movements. Additionally, a full neoprene interior and a layer of memory foam protect your back from the hard external shell and guarantee ultimate comfort. Created in collaboration with Bcomp, AK Durable Supply Co created the FlaxFusion construction with ampliTex™ natural fibre reinforcements for a long-lasting rigid structure, giving you the same high-level support for a long time to come. Jack Rieder, freestyle kiteboarder, is excited about his new harness: “The Method FlaxFusion RS provides me with endless back support while still allowing me to move freely in the directions I need for grabs unhooked. The RS system allows me to fine tune how tight I wear my harness depending on the discipline and conditions. If I want it a bit more snug, I can even tighten it up while riding in for my next trick.” Product designer, Craig Tompkins, is very happy about this great collaboration with Bcomp: “We really enjoy working with the knowledgeable experts at Bcomp. Not only was the technical material information available, but the collaboration allowed for the R&D process and for us to appropriately specify the material for accurate performance and flex characteristics.” The Method RS FlaxFusion waist harness now joins the Apex Eco board with ampliTex™ flax fibre reinforcements from partner brand Airush. Already launched earlier this year, the Airush Apex Eco kiteboard is an all-around versatile twintip for performance freeride and big air. The mix of flax fibre and basalt reinforcements creates stiffness between the feet while the ampliTex™ natural fibres provide increased damping for a smooth ride in choppy conditions and buttery landings. Learn more: 23-24 AK Durable Supply Co. product range Method RS FlaxFusion harness Airush Apex Eco kiteboard All images © AK Durable Supply Co. and © Airush Have a question or want to stay in touch? Contact us now

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Sep 26, 2023

Duotone Launches the 2024 Concept Blue Range with ampliTex™

Duotone has just launched its new collection for 2024 and we couldn’t be more excited about it! Our ampliTex™ natural fibre reinforcements make a prominent entry into the Duotone kiteboard lineup for the next season. With new shapes and construction, the Select and Soleil become the first twin tip boards to join Duotones Concept Blue Range. Using more sustainable materials and only renewable energy in the production process makes these new boards the most ecologically responsible ones from Duotone to date. With a fresh design, new asymmetric deck shape and updated outline, the Select is the perfect choice for riders who want to enjoy cruising and boost big jumps on the water. The Soleil comes with a narrower outline and marks the Select’s counterpart that is specifically designed for women and riders with a smaller frame and weight. Designed by women for women, the Soleil will ensure loads of fun carving from rail to rail, while the larger Space Flex windows in the tips ensure a smooth ride in all conditions. Reno Romeu, Duotone rider, is excited about his new board: “The Concept Blue from Duotone is something that I was really happy about! As we kiteboarders are always connected 100% to nature, we take a lot of care of the environment and also spread the word how we should act eco-friendly. Well, now we have an amazing product that we use in our sport of which we know is 100% made from natural resources. Not only the product itself is amazing, the Select is one of my favourite boards from the Duotone range. It’s a perfect board for someone who wants to improve fast and get their first tricks nailed. With a very early planing, which makes it easier to get going in light wind conditions, the Select also is the best board to push your upwind angle to the max. It's my favourite board, now in my favourite Concept Blue construction.” Concept Blue Aware of the environmental impact of their passion and sport, Duotone has initiated Concept Blue as a means to minimise their environmental impact, protect our playgrounds and create a sustainable future for watersports. Duotone’s R&D team designs products with the latest and most sustainable high-performance materials and they are committed to explore what can be done in the immediate future and years to come. Bcomp and Duotone are very aligned in a sustainable ethos that drives everything from selecting raw materials to production processes and the lifecycle of everything that our companies create. We are very glad to be part of Duotone’s next chapter with their first Concept Blue boards. Flax fibres to replace glass fibres The Select and Soleil, two of Duotone’s most popular twin tips, are now made with the Concept Blue construction. With flax and basalt, they introduce new raw materials into the Duotone range. As a renewable plant material, the creation of flax fibre reinforcements uses fewer resources and energy than traditional materials. For the twin tips, Duotone uses Bcomp’s ampliTex™ flax fibres to completely replace glass fibres in the production process. Our ampliTex™ fabrics offer them similar properties to the conventional glass fibres but add further benefits like superior damping for a smooth ride and excellent torsional flex characteristics. Incorporating ampliTex™ flax fibres alongside local basalt fibre reinforcements in these new Duotone boards not only enhances their performance, giving you a better ride, but also replaces carbon with flax and basalt, a material with similar mechanical properties and a significantly smaller environmental footprint. Going one step further in their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their boards, Duotone has chosen to manufacture these boards in a facility that is run with 100% solar energy. “Two of our most popular twin tips are now part of the Concept Blue range, featuring new materials for kiteboarding, flax and basalt,” says Manuel Zwinz, Product Designer at Duotone. “For the twin tips, we are using flax and basalt fibre to mainly replace glass fibre in the production process; it offers similar properties, but with many added benefits. It is a natural material that is eco-friendly to create, far more so than traditional glass fibre. It also offers superior damping capabilities compared to glass fibre. These attributes make it a great material to use in our twin tips.” All images © Duotone Sports Learn more: Duotone Select Duotone Soleil Duotone's Concept Blue Project Have a question or want to stay in touch? Contact us now

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Jul 17, 2023

Northern Light Composites’ ecoracer30

Our good friends from Northern Light Composites have just launched the world’s first recyclable production boat at The Ocean Race Grand Finale in Genoa. Following the great success of award-winning ecoracer25, the ecoracer30 OD takes everything a step further. The first production boat to utilise Northern Light Composites’ proprietary rComposite technology is a 9-meter sailing boat, designed by acclaimed yacht designer Matteo Polli who has an impressive track record in designing ORC championship-winning yachts. Over the last 4 years, Northern Light Composites has refined their rComposite technology and proven with several projects that there is indeed a readily available alternative for more sustainable performance boats with a viable end-of-life solution. While it is currently estimated that about 95% of fibreglass-boats simply end up abandoned at the end of their lifecycle, the ecoracer30 is living proof that the marine industry doesn’t have to continue on this same old path. With a composite construction that makes use of renewable and recycled materials to begin with and allows the boat to be recycled and materials to be reclaimed at the end of its life, this is a significant departure from the status-quo. At Bcomp we are more than excited to be contributing to this solution with our ampliTex™ high-performance natural fibre reinforcement fabrics and our patented powerRibs™ technology. To maximise the sustainable impact of their composite solution, Northern Light Composites is sharing their expertise with interested shipyards and boat builders by licensing the rComposite technology. Exemplary for this approach, the ecoracer30 has been built in a collaborative effort with the help of Magnani Yachts who took care of the composite manufacturing while the boat was eventually assembled in Genova with technical support from well-known Sangiorgio Marine. Magnani Yachts is also the first shipyard to hold the rComposite license and we can’t wait to see will be coming from them in the future. The ecoracer30 will very soon be in good company as the 2nd boat is currently under construction and has already been sold. We should also be seeing much more of the ecoracer30’s beauty and performance in the coming years since Norther Light Composites are working actively to launch the Ecoracer Sailing Series. With a strong focus on sustainability this new one design class will see exciting regattas taking place in Mediterranean countries known for their rich sailing heritage while promoting state-of-the-art technologies and increased sustainability in the sailing world. We are thrilled for Northern Light Composites to be taking this big step forward and can’t wait to see our materials as an integral part of a new sailing series with sustainability at its heart! Learn more:www.sail-world.com/news/263998/Introducing-the-first-recyclable-production-boat www.northernlightcomposites.com www.ecoracersailing.com All images © Bcomp / Flurin Efinger Have a question or want to stay in touch? Contact us now

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Jun 12, 2023

Sustainable Flax Composites Enter Serial Automotive Production in New Volvo EX30

The small SUV focuses on sustainability and is designed to have the lowest carbon footprint of any model in Volvo Cars’ history* Bcomp’s ampliTex™ natural fibre composites to be used in EX30 dashboard, and door trim ampliTex™ combines a low environmental impact from renewable natural fibres with high performance and unique design opportunities Fribourg, Switzerland… Swiss sustainable lightweighting company Bcomp has announced the application of its natural fibre composite technology, ampliTex™, in the new Volvo EX30. This landmark project will see Bcomp’s flax fibre composites offered as an optional trim for the dashboard, and doors of the EX30. The collaboration follows Volvo Cars Tech Fund’s Series B investment in Bcomp last year. While Bcomp’s natural fibre composites have been well-proven in demanding motorsport applications like Formula 1, Formula E, and SuperFormula, this is the first production vehicle to reach consumers. The highly innovative Volvo EX30 is an all-electric small SUV that combines safety, sustainability, cutting-edge tech, and Scandinavian design. Drivers can choose from four distinct interior ‘rooms’, two of which embrace the natural aesthetic of ampliTex™ trim panels: the Mist and Pine rooms. Bcomp had worked with Volvo Cars previously, in 2018, for the Volvo Ocean Race Recycled Plastics Demonstrator Vehicle. This was followed by the Concept Recharge in 2021, which demonstrated the future direction that Volvo Cars would take in all-electric car development. It included extensive use of Bcomp composites in both the interior and exterior, from storage areas to bumpers and sills. ampliTex™ is a technical reinforcement fabric made from renewable flax fibres grown in Europe. It combines sustainability, low weight and unique design opportunities. The use of ampliTex™ in the EX30 marks a significant stride in Bcomp’s vision for mobility, reflecting a shared commitment to sustainability and long-term efforts to reduce the lifetime emissions of passenger vehicles. It is also in support of Volvo Cars’ sustainability strategy, which includes the aims to sell solely all-electric cars by 2030 and to achieve climate neutrality by 2040. The Volvo EX30, featuring Bcomp's ampliTex™ technology, was officially launched on June 7th 2023 and is available for order or pre-order in selected markets. Christian Fischer, CEO and Co-Founder at Bcomp, commented: “This is a milestone moment for Bcomp. We are all incredibly proud to see ampliTex™ composites in the new Volvo EX30 – it will be the first production vehicle delivered to customers with our materials! We have had the pleasure to work closely with Volvo Cars for a long time, sharing the same vision for sustainable mobility and the potential for biobased materials to contribute to a circular future. This is the first step of our plan to scale into the large-scale mobility industry and continue our mission to help our customers decarbonize their supply chains." For more information about the new Volvo EX30, please visit: www.volvocars.com *The lowest carbon footprint of any Volvo car to date statement relates to globally available products over 200,000 kms of driving. All images © Volvo Car Group Have a question or want to stay in touch? Contact us now