‘Material Change’ campaign highlights critical role of composites in a net zero future

20 October 2022

The National Composites Centre (NCC) is excited to be part of a new digital series, Material Change: Resourcing Net Zero, which is exploring expertise and advances throughout the materials cycle to address the climate crisis, achieve net zero targets and accelerate the circular economy.

Launched at an event with senior policymakers in London on 19 October, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) led series features commentary from a range of industry experts and stories from organisations who are driving innovation across exploration and extraction, processing and application, and recycling, repurposing and reuse.

The NCC is one of a number of content partners involved in the campaign and is highlighting the vital role that composite materials play in the UK’s economic and sustainability ambitions. 


Kevin Mee, Head of Chief Engineering at the National Composites Centre, says: “As the world-leading authority in advanced composites, we have a proven track record in helping companies of all sizes across the UK to innovate in composites development.

“Composite materials are a disruptive technology that are crucial in our transition to net zero. The National Composites Centre’s focus on high performance composites, with the underpinning development around sustainable, bio-derived materials, digital technologies and hydrogen provides a great vehicle to create new jobs and expertise, maintaining the UK’s leadership position for a sustainable future.”

The NCC, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, works with more than 200 SMEs every year who are looking to innovate and scale up their products, giving them access to world-class technologies and expert composites engineers.

This year, we worked with ARC Marine, a small business based in Torquay that develops nature-based solutions for the marine environment. They needed a sustainable alternative to the plastic ropes they use to secure their carbon-neutral marine matts that hold subsea pipes and cables on the seabed.

The NCC’s team of specialist engineers have created a composite rope made entirely from natural and low-carbon minerals and fibres that can not only withstand the harsh sea environment but is kinder to marine wildlife – and could lead to a CO2 reduction of up to 88% when compared to a standard polypropylene rope. This innovative project also features in the Material Change campaign as a great example of the work undertaken with UK industry that is driving the journey to a sustainable future.

Tom Birbeck, Co-Founder and CEO of ARC Marine, says: “With each traditional mattress deployed, there’s an average of 140 meters of plastic rope that enters the ocean with it. Marine plastics damage our seas by harming numerous sea creatures, including fish, cetaceans, turtles, seabirds, coral and even humans.

"Our innovative plastic-free rope will undoubtedly change the face of the industry by preventing tonnes of plastic from entering the sea whilst enhancing marine ecosystems. That’s why we’re incredibly proud to have worked with the NCC to create it - they’ve been instrumental in developing and refining the design.”


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