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Issue 01/2021

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Highlights: Automotive Foam Basics: Enzymes

Automotive Fig. 1: DTM

Automotive Fig. 1: DTM shoebox (top-photo: Audi Sport, photo bottom: Bcomp) Sustainable lightweighting for large scale mobility Fig. 2: Cayman 718 GT4 CS MR (Photos: Porsche Motorsport) Swiss cleantech company Bcomp from Fribourg develops sustainable lightweighting solutions for high-performance applications. Its award-winning approach to applying the latest composites knowledge to natural fibres has captured the interest of many industries, from skiing to luxury yachting and even space, through a collaboration with the European Space Agency. But it is Bcomp’s multiple projects with global automotive players that highlight the relevance of natural fibre composites for large scale mobility. Drastically reduce weight and plastic in automotive interior panels By replacing traditional injection moulded plastic parts with Bcomp’s proprietary powerRibs technology, weight can be cut by up to 50% and plastic reduced by up to 70% in automotive interior panels. The powerRibs form a 3D grid on the b-side of a thin-walled shell element, thus improving stiffness and enabling dematerialisation (Fig. 5). Hence, not only a more sustainable material is used, but also lower volumes of material. This reduces the CO 2 footprint of the car, both in production and by lowering the energy consumption of the vehicle over time. According to Bcomp, several implementation projects are ongoing with OEMs for interiors in serial-production models. Chief among these is the electric performance car brand Polestar. In 2020, Polestar unveiled the concept car, Precept, which seeks to “redefine premium” through its use of sustainable materials. Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response to the concept, Polestar has confirmed that the Precept will advance to serial production. High-performance bodywork Automotive bodywork parts made from Bcomp’s natural fibre composites using its ampliTex reinforcement fabrics and powerRibs technology have up to 75 % lower CO 2 footprint cradle-to-gate than carbon fibre parts with equivalent performance and weight. Another added value is its ductile fracture behaviour which leads to no sharp edges when an impact occurs in use. Furthermore, replacing carbon fibres with natural fibres leads to safer manufacturing without toxic carbon dust. These benefits have led racing series to allow and, in some cases, even require the use of natural fibres in bodywork applications. For example, the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) uses natural fibres for the mandatory shoebox (Fig. 1), with Bcomp’s ampliTex and powerRibs technologies. 22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/21] Vol. 16

Automotiuve Last summer Porsche Motorsport launched a Cayman 718 GT4 CS MR featuring a full natural fibre bodywork kit developed in cooperation with Bcomp (Fig. 2). The car premiered at the legendary Nürburgring 24h race on September 26–27, 2020 and was run by Porsche customer racing team Four Motors. This development began in 2016 with collaboration between Porsche, the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the Fraunhofer WKI and Bcomp. Thus, this car is – in a way – another car in the series of the Bioconcept car, bioplastics MAGAZINE reported about quite a couple of times over the last 15 years. “This project shows in an impressive way that natural fibres can easily replace carbon fibre in many motorsport applications thanks to the powerRibs. The 24h race at the Nürburgring is the toughest GT race in the world and the perfect opportunity to put our sustainable lightweighting solutions through the decisive endurance test, we could not imagine a better place for it, and we are very proud to take this step with Porsche and Four Motors,” Bcomp’s Motorsports Manager Johann Wacht said in September 2020. Even the latest proposed Formula One regulations now open for the use of natural fibres. Sustainable trailblazer McLaren Racing presented the first natural fibre F1 seat (Fig. 3) in 2020 (see bM issue 05/2020), and later the same year, engineering company YCOM presented the first natural-fibre crash box, thus extending the use of natural fibres from non-structural to structural parts, both using Bcomp’s technologies for sustainable lightweighting. There seems to be strong demand for sustainable technologies in motorsports, along with a focus on making these technologies transfer into road cars and thus amplifying the impact. Latest News: The Swiss-based manufacturer Morand Cars is developing a fully electric Hypercar and also a hybrid version, due for production in 2023 (Fig. 4). Bcomp’s technology is an ideal solution for this trackfocused hypercar, with its emphasis on performance, luxury, and sustainability. Natural fibre composites will be used for the external bodywork of the Morand Hypercar as well as throughout the interior. Sustainable lightweighting PowerRibs and ampliTex are both made from flax fibres – flax is used as a rotational crop to improve harvests that grows naturally in Europe. At the end-of-life, parts can be ground down into a new base material or used for climate neutral thermal energy recovery within the standard waste management system, as opposed to carbon fibres that mostly end up in landfills. AT Fig. 3: Racing seat (Photo McLaren) Fig. 4: Rendering of the Morand Hypercar (Picture: Morand Cars Fig. 5: PowerRibs (Photo: Bcomp) bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/21] Vol. 16 23

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