Near Ritsumasyl in the Friesland province of the Netherlands, a record-breaking bio-composite bridge has been inaugurated early 2020. It is the first of its kind, part of the public road network and 66 metres long, 4 metres wide, and created to carry primarily cyclists but also the occasional car safely across the Van Harinxma channel. The channel is important for commercial shipping and the bridge therefore created as a swing bridge to let ships with up to 17m width pass.
The Ritsumasyl bridge consists of 80% biobased materials, using Bcomp’s ampliTex™ technical flax fabrics for reinforcement together with for balsa wood. It is built with two 22m wide spans and composite decks. The intended usage time is 50 years, although tests have shown that the materials can be used for more than 100 years. Compared to the old concrete bridge of 400 tonnes, the bio-composite bridge is a real lightweight at only 30 tonnes.
The ampliTex™ flax reinforcements are lightweight and stiff fibres with excellent vibration damping properties, and CO2 neutral over their lifecycle.
Friesland supports the Netherlands’ government’s ambition to be fully “circular” by 2050 and to be among the top three most development-friendly regions in Europe. Circular economy is at the heart of this innovative bridge by using sustainable materials and by using materials over as long a period as possible, thus reducing the eco footprint. The plan is to use the bridge as fertilizer in 100 years.
This project also reflects Bcomp’s values of transparent with various stakeholders, where innovation and knowledge development come together. The project is called DRIVE (www.drive.frl ) and a collaboration of different actors including the Friesland province and INFRA Composites, among others.