Alternative feedstock

Locking in sustainability at the design stage

Composite materials, such as fibre reinforced polymer (FRP), are widely used in today’s aeroplanes, cars, wind turbines and ships. But these composites are largely derived from oil, a non-renewable raw material.

We need to accelerate innovation and lock-in sustainability at the design stage by looking at the materials we are selecting to make composites. This is essential if we are to future-proof our products. 

Materials derived from renewable resources need to be identified, investigated and trusted across engineering applications.

What we are doing

There is a wide perception in industry that bio-derived materials will result in lower performance products limited to niche applications. As such, our work in this area will focus on:

  • establishing and promoting alternative and more sustainable best practice
  • capturing materials data and improving design for sustainability
  • demonstrating bio-derived systems with tangible improvements to sustainability credentials
  • showcasing the inherent advantages some bio and natural materials possess
  • promoting our manufacturing capabilities to support the materials supply chain.

Bio-Bolster project

The world’s non-renewable fossil fuel supply – used to manufacture many traditional materials – is running out. In order to future-proof the use of composites, more sustainable routes to manufacture need to be explored. This can be achieved through using bio-derived materials, which are naturally sourced, renewable, and often abundant in supply.

The Bio-Bolster project explores bio-derived resins for high-volume, high-value manufacturing applications, and includes developing an understanding of supply chains, design requirements and performance characteristics to produce a novel resin with less impact on the environment. 


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