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Looking back on 2021

- Wrapping up a year, packed with exciting developments

2021 was a very exciting year for everyone at Bcomp. At the beginning of the year we celebrated our 10th birthday, our team kept on growing, and we opened a new production facility in Fribourg. Furthermore, our sustainable lightweighting solutions are finding their way into new applications;  from the automotive sector, to exciting motorsports series and sailing boats. We feel very lucky to work towards a more sustainable future together with our fantastic customers and leading brands, suppliers, organisations and institutes.

Let’s take a look at some of 2021’s highlights:

The Extreme E racing series embraces natural fibre composite bodyworks

The inaugural Extreme E season delivered a great spectacle and very exciting racing. The teams fought for victory in some of the most remote and stunning locations on this planet. Spark Racing Technology provided all teams with their fully electric Odyssey 21 off-road racing SUVs which are striving for the highest performance without sacrificing sustainability. Therefore, they fitted all the cars with a lightweight bodywork made from ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ natural fibre composites.

McLaren Racing takes sustainable materials in F1 to the next level

In 2020 we revealed the development of F1’s first natural fibre seat together with McLaren Racing. In 2021 they have taken it to the next level. Not only has Lando Norris been racing the new seat since the British Grand-Prix, but McLaren has also extended the use of our sustainable lightweighting solutions to other areas of their set-up. Both the engineering islands and timing stands are now built with sustainable composite materials thanks to the ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ natural fibre technologies, significantly reducing weight. We are looking forward to see the next steps in 2022!

Baltic Yacht’s first 68 foot Café Racer launched successfully as Pink Gin Verde

The beautiful day sailer uses natural ampliTex™ composites, making up about 50% of the hull and deck mouldings. Replacing such a large amount of the standard carbon fibres with sustainable flax fibres significantly reduces the CO2 footprint of the boat, while providing technical advantages in the form of vastly improved sound reduction and decreased need for insulation.

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS with a natural fibre composite interior

In addition to the bodywork from ampliTex™ and powerRibs™, Four Motors’ Porsche GT4 race car now also sports a more sustainable interior. Following the tremendous success of the partnership’s sustainable bodywork project, Bcomp and Porsche Motorsport worked to overhaul the GT4’s interior to further cut carbon emissions. Nine parts were reverse engineered by Bcomp, including the air channels, consoles, instrument cluster, glovebox and roof panel.

As part of the project, Bcomp conducted a full sustainability analysis, revealing that the natural fibre solution offers a 94% reduction in material emissions and a 90% reduction in cradle-to-gate emissions compared to the conventional carbon fibre parts.

Green Nacelle with ampliTex™ reinforced natural fibre composite structure in testing

German company GREENBOATS designed and manufactured a full offshore nacelle cover with a natural fibre composite structure. The nacelle is assembled from several ampliTex™ reinforced sandwich panels and uses Sicomin’s bio-based GreenPoxy resin system, resulting in a significant reduction of the CO2 footprint and energy consumption during production compared to a nacelle made with conventional GFRP technology. Importantly, at end of life the panels of the nacelle can easily be reused for new applications or brought to a waste-to-energy plant where it can serve for highly efficient thermal energy recovery, instead of ending up in landfill. 
After being selected as a finalist for a JEC Innovation Award 2021, the Green Nacelle has been delivered to the customer DOT (Delft Offshore Turbine) and was installed onshore for first tests before it will eventually be moved to its final location offshore.

Surfing on flax – more sustainable surfboards 

We took a closer look at Predn Surf Co. and Ertha Surfboards, two small brands that are trying to lead by example and make the surf industry more sustainable. Both companies focus on using sustainable materials and production processes without sacrificing performance – a perfect match for our ampliTex™ fabrics.

First Swiss hypercar to sport Bcomp’s sustainable lightweighting technologies

Swiss-based Morand Cars announced the development of their first fully electric hypercar that will be accompanied by a hybrid version. Both hypercars will feature our ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ natural fibre composite solutions for their bodywork as well as interiors. We are very excited to be working with the team of leading profiles from the motorsport world and are looking forward to seeing the project advance.

Taking it to the next level with our new production facility in Fribourg

At the beginning of 2021 we opened our new production plant in the city of Fribourg. This state-of-the-art facility allows us to explore novel ways of producing our natural fibre solutions for the global mobility market and to create a scalable production process. Thanks to a high level of automation, the production of our thermoplastic powerRibs™ solution requires relatively few but highly skilled operators. By co-locating the R&D and production teams in Fribourg we’ll be able to produce for customers while constantly optimising the process and the products.

Crowning a successful year with the Trophées PME 2021 award for best SME

As an eventful year came to an end, the whole team at Bcomp got one more reason to celebrate as we were awarded with the Trophées PME 2021 for best small- and medium-sized enterprise in Fribourg.

Christian Fischer, CEO of Bcomp, commented: “I am very happy for our entire team. Bringing back this prize in the category for small and medium-sized enterprises shows how far we have come as a company since our days as a start-up, and is the result of a great team effort over the past years.”

Over the course of 2021 Bcomp’s experts have been interviewed, invited to panel discussions, holding presentations at international conferences, and chatting on podcasts. Here is a small selection from automotive to marine and motorsport:

Bcomp's sustainable lightweighting solutions in Forbes

Christian Fischer, our CEO, spoke to the great Nargess Banks about how Bcomp's sustainable plant-based materials are challenging carbon’s performance.

Sustainable lightweighting solutions for the future of mobility

Bcomp's Manager Automotive, Marek Jancik, held a virtual presentation about the advantages and applications of our sustainable ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ technologies for the future of mobility.

Bcomp on the Motoring Podcast

Per Mårtensson was invited onto the Motoring Podcast. He had a great chat with Andrew Clews about how Bcomp started, what we do and how our natural fibre composite materials can be used in the automotive sector.

Building boats with cleaner composites

Paolo Dassi, Marine and Industry Manager at Bcomp, was invited to a panel discussion at METSTRADE. The discussion on sustainable composites for boat building was hosted by Professional Boat Builder Magazine and other guests included Friedrich Deimann from GREENBOATS as well as Fabio Bignolini from NL Composites.

Bcomp's team was finally back at trade shows

This year we were finally again back with a booth at several trade shows. Our team was more than happy to talk about our proprietary sustainable lightweighting solutions at both the Professional Motorsport World and Greener Manufacturing Show in Cologne. Seeing old and new faces and catching up with everyone again was simply great!

Taking our sustainable alternative to carbon fibre from race to road

Just-Auto magazine interviewed our Manager for Motorsports & Supercars, Johann Wacht. The article explores how our ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ solutions have started to replace carbon fibre in certain motorsports applications and how these technologies are now being carried over to road going cars.

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Recent News

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Aug 04, 2022

McLaren Racing’s Sustainability Report

McLaren Racing recently released their Sustainability Report for 2021 and Bcomp is very pleased to be mentioned on several occasions throughout the report. Our partnership with McLaren has allowed us to have a positive impact in different areas. Race Logistics The work we did with McLaren Racing on the timing stand and engineers' island helped them to reduce travelling freight weight by 3450 kg. The new timing stand and engineers' island are made in a hybrid flax-carbon construction with Bcomp's ampliTex™ high-performance reinforcements making up the majority share. Replacing the previous carbon fibre components with natural flax fibre composites allowed McLaren Racing to decrease their amount of air freight and reduced their GHG footprint. Circular Design Our natural fibre technologies create high-performance alternatives to plastics and carbon fibre that come with viable end-of-life solutions. This allows McLaren Racing to explore new paths in circular design while they also keep working on alternative end-of-life solutions. A Successful Collaboration "Our partnership with Bcomp has been a game-changer in helping us find new opportunities for incorporating natural fibre composites into our design and engineering," states the McLaren Racing Sustainability Report. Together we have developed Formulas 1's first natural fibre racing seat. Lando Norris' new seat uses an optimised layup of ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ flax fibre solutions to replace the conventional carbon fibre layup. The pioneering natural fibre technologies reduce reliance on carbon fibre and single use plastic and lower the CO2 emissions by 85% compared to the seat's carbon fibre counterpart. We are excited to see what the future holds and how we can further advance sustainable lightweighting solutions from natural fibres in the course of this successful collaboration. The full Sustainability Report from McLaren Racing can be found here: McLaren Racing Sustainability Report 2021 Five key takeaways from the Sustainability Report All images © McLaren Racing Have a question or want to stay in touch? Contact us now

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Aug 02, 2022

World-Class Craftsman Harnesses Natural Fibre Composites

The REI chair is a testament to the incredible build, surface and finish quality that can be achieved by using Bcomp’s ampliTex™ technical fabrics. Learn about how Tras Ltd., a Japanese composite company with a background in motorsport, has made its signature high-end designer chair far more sustainable. A World-Class Composite Craftsman From endurance motorcycle racing to luxury designer furniture, design and manufacturing studio Tras is a Japanese leader in composites. It is the latest organization to fly the flag of the Japanese composites industry – a craft that has been central to the culture for more than a millennium. Specialising in the design and production of carbon composites and other advanced composite materials (ACM), Tras began when its founder, Masanao Nitta, started to design bespoke carbon bodywork for race cars and motorcycles in 1988. In 2002, when established teams hesitated at his offer to provide bodywork, he decided to take action himself and started his own team to design and produce aerodynamic bodywork for the Suzuka 8 Hours, leading to a class victory with a BMW Motorrad in 2006. This eventually led to Tras being a partner for Suzuki’s Moto GP team from 2009, leveraging the deal through branding and exposure and further work within motorsport as Team Partner for the Toyota Motorsport GmbH's VLN bid with the LEXUS IS F CCS-R. Paying Homage to an Ancient Composite Tradition It was 2009 and Masanao Nitta had a strong desire to develop unique furniture that showcased his incredible carbon composite craftsmanship in an interesting way. Project REI was a collaboration between Tras and renowned Japanese designer Keita Shimizu. The team drew from Japan’s rich history of composite work, citing and paying homage to the 1,300-year-old Ashura statue. Made entirely from composites – flax fibres and urushi lacquer (a natural resin) – the statue depicts a god, stands around 1.5 metres tall and is considered to be a national treasure. When Masanao Nitta used carbon fibre composites in the first REI chair design, he went through countless steps of lacquering and surface polishing. Applying this ancient technique to today’s state-of-the-art composite materials, allowed Tras to achieve a unique tint that reflects the deep golden-brown of natural urushi lacquer. With the statue a well-known cultural icon of Japan, the chair paying homage to it quickly garnered attention. It was even exhibited internationally, including in Switzerland during Art Basel at the VOLTA fair. Showcasing Visual Perfection with ampliTex™ Drawing significant international attention to Japan’s rich history of composites and the expert application of carbon composites in furniture design and production, Masanao Nitta learned about the latest sustainable high-performance natural fibre composites. It was not long before he was in discussions with the Bcomp team about using ampliTex™ to produce a new version of the REI chair that closely mirrored the Ashura statue’s original flax fibre and urushi lacquer construction. The new, natural fibre REI highlights the level of quality and craftsmanship that is possible with industry-leading flax fibre composite reinforcements. The unique aesthetic of ampliTex™ was perfectly suited to this high-end design application with the flax weave entirely visible across the ‘bowl’ shaped structure of the chair. With visual perfection and quality paramount to ensuring the chair meets the expectations of discerning customers, ampliTex™ was the ideal choice thanks to its unique high-end appearance. A Perfect Match for Furniture and Luxury Goods With advanced composites becoming an increasingly popular material within high-end furniture design and production, the use of natural fibres that cannot only match the visual quality of carbon but add their very own unique appearance, could be an important step towards decarbonising the industry. To learn more about the use of Bcomp’s ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ technologies in furniture and luxury goods, please get in touch with our design team. If you would like to learn more about Tras and its REI chair, please visit www.tras.co.jp All images © Tras / Koichi OHTANI Have a question or want to stay in touch? Contact us now

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Jul 08, 2022

Bcomp is Official Partner of the Foiling Week SuMoth Challenge 2022

Bcomp is very proud to be official partner of the SuMoth challenge that took place this weekend on beautiful Lake Garda during the Foiling Week. Sunny skies, perfect wind conditions and a great atmosphere made for an amazing event. The SuMoth Challenge The SuMoth challenge invites student teams from all over the world to design, build, and eventually race a sustainable foiling Moth. The teams bring together students from different backgrounds to work on a common goal and gain valuable experience with sustainable technologies driving the future of sustainable boat building. Teams have to go through all the phases from material selection and design process, to engineering, actually building the Moth and finally getting it on the water. Time and budget constraints add to the complexity of this endeavour. Such a project can only be tackled with the right support and the teams can count on the partners of the SuMoth challenge. Sharing Knowledge Bcomp has a long tradition of passing on its knowledge and expertise in natural fibre composite solutions to students who will shape the future of many an industry. Needless to say, we were more than happy to support teams during the challenge. Paolo Dassi, Bcomp’s Marine and Industry Manager, held a masterclass on biobased composites for the participating teams. These masterclasses allow the students to benefit from the concentrated knowledge of the SuMoth partners and to gain valuable insights. Talking to the teams on location and hearing first-hand how the masterclass has helped them and given them inspiration for new ideas, was simply great. Many of the teams on site mentioned that they are actively exploring the use of natural fibres for anything from updated and improved components to entire new hulls for next year’s event. Finally Taking Flight We saw incredible commitment and effort from all the teams over the course of the Foiling Week. They all had their own setbacks and victories, working tirelessly to get their innovative and sustainable Moth to take off, and to make a point for their design and material choices. Especially standing out, were moments such as the Moth from Canadian team Rafale ETS taking flight for the first time ever, or the entire PoliMi Sailing Team working tirelessly late into the evenings to finally take home a shared first place in the design stage and 2nd place in stage 2, just to name a few. We congratulate all the teams on their great boat designs and are already looking forward to seeing more teams and boats with natural fibre components by next year. Foiling Week The Foiling Week was a great success with a lot of interesting racing action, many initiatives to help people achieve their first foiling experience and cool side events such as the Foiling Film Festival. There was also a row of panel discussions on all the topics around foiling spread out over the long weekend. Bcomp was represented by Paolo Dassi, its Marine and Industry Manager, who could contribute his expertise during the discussion about Building Sustainability into Foiling. The entire forum sessions were streamed live and are now available on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ-F_iSrens Learn more: SuMoth Challenge The Foiling Week All images © Bcomp / Flurin Efinger Have a question or want to stay in touch? Contact us now