Application Center for Wood Fiber Research HOFZET®

Research project

Innovation area - Development and production of components made from bio-based fiber-reinforced plastics (BioCoM)

Bio-based materials have rarely been used in traditional application fields for fiber-composite systems up until now. The processing and performance characteristics of established materials such as petrol-based polymers and conventional fibers (carbon, aramid or glass fibers) have already been intensely researched and implemented in large sections of the industry. Bio-based materials have significant ecological, functional and economic advantages. However, as these properties have not been sufficiently investigated and the limited amount of knowledge which has already been gathered has not yet penetrated the market, reluctance exists as regards market introduction. In this research project, we are investigating the processing, application and recycling options for components made from bio-based fiber-reinforced plastics along the entire process chain. The aim is to provide industry and society with information concerning the positive properties, to enable the processing of these materials in stable processes and, thereby, to increase their utilization, for example in the transport sector or in the construction industry.

Bio-based fiber-composite materials exhibit significant advantages over those based on petrochemical polymers and conventional fibers. These include, amongst others, their CO2 neutrality, good acoustic insulation, no corrosion problems, low tendency towards splintering, low density and, not least, financial advantages. As an example, the development of lightweight components made from bio-based fiber composites for the transportation sector or the construction industry enables not only improved product performance but also significant energy savings in the utilization phase.

In order to enable the utilization of these positive properties and to preserve the limited fossil resources, we are establishing, together with our project partners, an innovation area in which process chains for the processing of bio-based materials are adapted and developed. Within the frameworks of individual research projects, the comprehensive processes cannot be adequately represented; the introduction of such an innovation area is therefore indispensable for the application of bio-based materials. This will enable an extensive further development of innovative and sustainable materials, as well as the associated processes and recycling possibilities and a corresponding technological, economic and ecological evaluation to be made feasible.

Instead of a sequential and isolated analysis of individual product life phases, during our research we take into consideration the processing and application possibilities and, in particular, possible reutilization options – as early as the conceptual design stage of the component. Furthermore, within the framework of the innovation area, we develop suitable recycling concepts for the components at the end of their utilization phase, thereby enabling a virtually closed cycle of materials.

Project partners

  • Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites IfBB
  • Institute for Forming Technology and Forming Machines - Leibniz University Hanover
  • Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V. (Interest group for reinforced plastics)

Funding

Funding body: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Project coordination: Projektträger Jülich (PTJ)

Duration: 1.9.2017 to 31.7.2018