back

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.

Recent posts

thumbnail

Jun 22, 2022

Northern Light Composites’ ecoOptimist

Press release from Clean Sailors -  Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors team up to launch the world’s first sustainable and recyclable Optimist for young sailors and sailing schools, globally, supported by OneSails and Swiss clean-tech company, Bcomp. The ecoOptimist at JEC World 2022 in Paris - Credit: FOUCHA-MUYARD The ecoOptimist dinghy is the first fully recyclable sailing boat of the Optimist class in the world with already more than 90% of the hull being recyclable today. It, has been designed and built by Northern Light Composites in Monfalcone, Italy, who have teamed up with Clean Sailors to launch the ecoOptimist for young sailors.  A huge number of sailors around the world have their first experiences on the water in an Optimist dinghy - it represents the single largest sailing class on the planet, and is the single most-widely used boat, globally. “The Optimist is renowned across the world for being the primary boat so many of us have our first experience of sailing in, myself included. It’s the single largest class on our planet,  sailed by our youngest and the next generations of our global sailing community. Much of the current, global Optimist class are imported plastic hulls which enter landfill at end of life," explains Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors. "It’s therefore super important to consider and develop how we produce this boat, and how we introduce our future sailors to a better way of sailing, at comparable cost - something that Northern Light Composites have managed to achieve.” The materials for the hull of the ecoOptimist were carefully selected and tested to make sure that they delivered the same high performance as conventionally built boats in the Optimist class, but in a pack- age that is significantly more sustainable. The ecoOptimist is not only built from sustainable materials but also recyclable once it is no longer fit to carry young sailors – more than 90% of the hull are already recyclable today and soon it should be 100%. The ampliTex™ natural fibre reinforcements, Atlas HPE core and resin can then be reused to produce new components. Compared to conventional glass fibres, flax fibres reduce the CO2 footprint of the composite from cradle to gate and don’t rely on fossil resources for the production of the raw material. Instead, they sequester CO2 from the atmosphere during their growth and act as a natural CO2 sink during their entire lifetime. Holly Manvell, founder and Skipper of Clean Sailors, and Fabio Bignolini, Chief Operations Officer of Northern Light Composites - Credit: nlcomp “Many of us sailors started with the Optimist and it is really exciting for us to launch this project for a new generation of recyclable boats," says Fabio Bignolini, co-founder and COO of Northern Light Composites. "I believe that starting with young sailors is the way to change the marine industry's perception about our new technology and what is possible for the future of better boatbuilding. We are super proud to launch our ecoOptimist  with Clean Sailors and a partner like Onesails,  both who share our same sensitivity for the end-of-life problem. We can't wait to tour Europe over the coming months and talk about new materials and technologies with the industry and young sailors, alike.” Each ecoOptimist also features a sail by the renowned sailmaker OneSails, the primary producer of winning Optimist sails worldwide and the only sailmakers to date achieving a performing, strong and durable ISO certified sustainable and recyclable sail fabric, produced in a low carbon footprint manufacturing process, making them the leading sailmaker also in sustainable practices. OneSails is a proud partner of the ecoOptimist project. The ecoOptimist launch will focus on sailing clubs to ensure as many young sailors as possible get the chance to experience the new sailboat. A competition will be launched in June 2022 to give sailing clubs around the world the chance to own one of the first ten ecoOptimists ever produced. The ten boats will be built over the course of 2022 and ready for the opening of the 2023 sailing season by March 2023. Winning sailing clubs will provide a 500 EUR deposit ahead of build. The total cost of the ecoOptimist is comparable with other composite Optimists at EUR 4000. Paolo Dassi, Marine and Industry Manager at Bcomp, commented: “Train ‘em young! This could be the motto for  Northern Light Composites’ ecoOptimist project, which Bcomp is an instrumental partner of. Our advanced ampliTex™ flax fabrics are used throughout the hull laminates, matching the performance and weight of traditional glass laminates, but with much more attractive end-of-life options and environmental properties. It is great to see that sustainability and our planet’s health are starting to become major priorities in the selection of boatbuilding materials. Passing on this sustainable mindset already to young sailors is definitely the way to go.” About Northern Light Composites  Northern Light Composites is an innovative startup that deals with the research and development of recyclable composites in order to solve the problems related to the end of life of fibreglass composites. The company was founded in December 2019 by three passionate sailors and started working on the research and development of rComposite, the world’s first recyclable composite solution for the marine industry. More information: www.northernlightcomposites.com About Clean Sailors Clean Sailors is a not-for-profit, mobilising the global sailing community in conservation of our oceans. Launched in July 2020, Clean Sailors' mission is to set a new standard of sailing within our global sailing community: clean sailing, by raising awareness of ocean conservation opportunities within our sport, our passion, our pastime. More information: www.cleansailors.com Full press release from Clean Sailors 

thumbnail

Jun 20, 2022

BMW unveils new M4 GT4 featuring more natural fibre parts than any other GT racing car in series production

BMW has just launched the successor of their M4 GT4 race car. Building on the great legacy of the BMW M4 GT4 the new version delivers all the raw performance that one would imagine.  Meanwhile, it is also pushing sustainability and is now the series GT race car with the most natural fibre parts, giving a good impression of where things are heading. Bcomp is very excited about recently becoming an official BMW M Motorsport partner. Even more so, as the next evolution of the BMW M4 GT4 extensively uses Bcomp’s ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ technologies for a long list of vehicle components. By this, BMW is taking their use of sustainable composite solutions to the next level. As a matter of fact, there is no other GT racing car in series production matching the amount of natural fibre composite parts on the new BMW M4 GT4. A long-standing collaboration BMW first started to work with Bcomp’s materials in 2019 when they used high-performance natural fibre composites in the BMW iFE.20 Formula E car. From this flax fibre reinforced cooling shaft, the collaboration evolved and soon after, the proprietary ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ natural fibre solutions were found successfully substituting selected carbon fibre components in DTM touring cars from BMW M Motorsport. By trickling down and expanding into other vehicle programs, such developments highlight the vital role that BMW M Motorsports plays as a technology lab for the entire BMW Group. This continues in the form of the latest collaboration with Bcomp to include a higher proportion of renewable raw materials in the successor of the BMW M4 GT4. More natural fibre parts than any other GT racing car With the launch of the new BMW M4 GT4, it will be the serial GT car with the highest proportion of natural fibre components. Bcomp’s ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ flax fibre solutions can be found throughout the interior on the dashboard and centre console, as well as on bodywork components such as the hood, front splitter, doors, trunk, and rear wing. Aside from the roof, there are almost no carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components that were not replaced by the renewable high-performance flax materials. “Product sustainability is increasing in importance in the world of motorsport too,” says Franciscus van Meel, Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW M GmbH. “So, we are delighted to have Bcomp on board as an official BMW M Motorsport partner for the BMW M4 GT4 project.” More sustainable and safer components Designing components with the specific properties of ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ in mind allows BMW to fully exploit their potential in the new M4 GT4.  Substituting synthetic carbon fibres with the renewable ampliTex™ flax fibre fabrics and powerRibs™ also allows for significant greenhouse gas emission reductions from cradle to gate of up to 85% while adding performance benefits like improved vibration damping. Furthermore, the natural fibre components add safety benefits for the driver and everyone else on the track. While contact and crashes are inevitable in tight racing, the failure mode of exposed parts plays a huge role. Traditional CFRP components tend to splinter upon impact, producing sharp debris and splinters that can cause punctures, and put the driver, marshals, and pit crew at risk. Natural fibre components with ampliTex™ and powerRibs™, on the contrary, have a ductile failure mode without sharp debris and splinters which prevents punctures. The powerRibs™ do not only stiffen the parts, but they also confine the damage zone, often allowing a damaged part to stay in one piece until it can be replaced. As parts reach their end-of-life, natural fibre components provide viable and readily available options. They can be processed through the standard waste management system. With current waste-to-energy plants allowing for highly efficient thermal energy recovery, natural fibres can essentially be considered as a form of renewable energy source. This presents a viable end-of-life scenario rather than following the traditional path to landfill that carbon fibre parts largely take. From race to road While the new BMW M4 GT4 will start to fight for podiums in the GT4 class from 2023 onwards, the next milestones are already in sight. Taking the findings and experience gained on the track as a basis, these new material technologies will also find their way into BMW M models, and BMW M Performance Parts, as stated by BMW Group. The development collaboration between BMW Group Research and Bcomp is also working on the use of new sustainable material solutions for future production models. Developing such innovative materials forms a key element of the sustainability strategy of the BMW Group, which is seeking to lower its vehicles’ life cycle carbon emissions by over 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. “We are honoured and happy to look back on such exciting joint milestones and even more on the adventures lying ahead of us with BMW,” comments Johann Wacht, Manager Motorsports and Supercars at Bcomp. “Proving the performance of ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ on the highest level of Formula E and the DTM Class 1 era, and now embracing natural fibre parts to such a high extent on the new BMW M4 GT4 customer racing program is a consequent and unparalleled statement towards scaling sustainable lightweighting. Working closely together with the motorsport and road departments of BMW M enables us to push the limit of natural fibre solutions. We share the clearly defined goal to use the full potential of motorsports as a test bench and accelerator for green technologies, eventually enabling sustainability benefits for wider society with some of the most exciting roadgoing sportscars.“ Fans should absolutely keep their eyes open – exciting things to come! About the new BMW M4 GT4 BMW M4 GT4 launch - official press release from the BMW Group Official BMW M Motorsport page for the new BMW M4 GT4 About BMW and Bcomp collaboration BMW i Ventures - Natural Fibres for Sustainable Lightweighting: Our Investment in Bcomp BMW i Ventures invests in high-performance composites made from natural fibres Bcomp and BMW M Motorsport

thumbnail

Jun 02, 2022

#GREENPADEL from Adidas with ampliTex™ Flax Fibres

Showing the Adidas #GREENPADEL racket at JEC World 2022 After a two-year break the JEC World finally returned to Paris and Bcomp was very happy to present some of the newest developments at its booth. Attracting a lot of attention among the many parts, was the new Adidas #GREENPADEL racket. This high-performance padel racket was designed and constructed with our unidirectional ampliTex™ flax fibre reinforcements for extraordinary versatility in both offense and defense. Renewable flax fibres for a more sustainable racket After its inaugural season, the original #GREENPADEL is now joined by a new addition to the family. The Adidas Metalbone #GREENPADEL offers players a new level of performance thanks to the outstanding vibration damping offered by flax fibres. Replacing the conventional carbon- and glass fibres with ampliTex™ flax fibres allowed the manufacturer to create a more sustainable racket that doesn’t need to hide from its high-end competition made with conventional composite reinforcements. Using naturally renewable flax fibres instead of carbon- and glass fibres allows for a far more sustainable racket. Synthetic fibres are normally made from fossil resources in a highly energy intensive procedure. Flax fibres on the other hand are obtained from flax plants in a simple mechanical process. As a renewable and plant-based material, flax fibres sequester CO2 from the atmosphere during their growth and keep it stored for their entire lifetime. Moving to more renewable materials is an essential step in making our high-performance sport equipment more sustainable. To learn more about the #GREENPADEL visit: The #GREENPADEL spirit Adidas Metalbone #GREENPADEL All images © All for Padel / Adidas