SeaBioComp Newsletter February 2022

Welcome to the SeaBioComp project newsletter No 4 February 2022

SeaBioComp is a collaborative project which is developing novel bio-based thermoplastic composite materials to replace conventional oil-based products in the industry.

The long term gain for the marine environment is very much at the forefront of this project as well as the development of viable new bio-composite materials, 3D printing of bio-composite materials and the development of analytical protocols to evaluate the long-term durability and reduced ecological impact on the marine environment.

For more information please visit:

Posted 2021-11-02 14:33:28

Harbour mooring product produced from Flax/PLA as demonstrator example

SeaBioComp partner Poly Products has been proactively seeking out harbour products to produce from the bio-composites developed by the project to use as demonstrator examples for businesses to see practical applications of the project's work.

Albert ten Busschen and Michiel de Bruijcker from Poly Products came across a boat protection item that was at the end of its life and decided to design a new alternative that could be 3D printed on their machine using the flax/PLA material that Centexbel has made for the SeaBioComp project.

Two parts were designed, the 'boat protector' and a 'top cover' which acts as a protection cover again rain and sea water ingress. Poly Products used the FGF 3D printing technology process to shape the products.

The completed product, once installed in the correct place in the harbour will prevent damage to vessels and boats navigating or mooring close to the bollards.

If your business has an idea for a demonstrator product to be made from the bio-composite materials developed by the SeaBioComp project please get in touch with the project manager,

Posted 2021-11-24 10:22:34

Flax/Acrylic demonstrator wind turbine blade produced as part of SeaBioComp project

The University of Plymouth, one of the project partners in the SeaBioComp project, has produced a flax reinforced acrylic thermoplastic scale model of a wind turbine blade as a demonstrator component for the project.

The two half blades (front and back) were manufactured using a flax fabric reinforced acrylic thermoplastic matrix by in situ polymerisation monomer infusion techniques under flexible tooling (MIFT).

The mould profile is for a floating offshore wind (FLOW) turbine blade at a scale of 1:50. The trimmed and faired blade weighs 395g.

Large composite marine structures (eg boat hulls or wind turbine blades) are usually manufactured using a Resin Infusion under Flexible Tooling (RIFT) process. However there are few options for end-of-life disposal of these products in the recycling process.

The SeaBioComp project is seeking to develop in situ polymerisation (ISP) of bio composite materials using the Monomer Infustion under Flexible Tooling (MIFT) method.

For more information on the project and its findings please visit

Posted 2022-02-03 15:37:20

Call for suppliers and users of biocomposites to engage with SeaBioComp project

The SeaBioComp project is looking to engage with suppliers and end users of bio-composites; especially in the field of products for the marine environment.

The project is focusing on the supply chain aspects of biocomposites and is developing a commercialisation action plan for the development of bio-composite products in the marine environment.

In particular we are looking to make contact with potential stakeholders and suppliers in the production chain, initially companies interested in biocomposites for the maritime environment, made via compression moulding, additive manufacturing or monomer infusion using RIFT techniques. We are keen to engage with monomer/polymer, fibres, additives, compounding and filament/textile companies to better understand the market including quality, prices, delivery etc.

In addition we would like to make contact with contractors and customers like water management companies who are looking to use the new biocomposite technologies in order to fully understand their requirements and cost implications.

This study into the value chain for biocomposites in marine applications will enable the project to produce some practical flyers to highlight the project demonstrators and their advantages compared to traditional materials, to identify innovations that are required and to list potential products of the future for example the use of biocomposites in areas such as ports and harbours.

To get more information on the specifications of the various biocomposite materials being developed by the SeaBioComp project please download the specification sheets available in the downloads section of the website; Flax/PLA/COPLA specification and self reinforced PLA composite.

Anyone wishing to be involved in these discussions can contact us via Leon Joore , Isabel De Schrijver and Elke Demeyer

Posted 2021-09-15 12:12:04

Promising mechanical testing results for new biocomposite materials developed by SeaBioComp

Even if conventional natural fiber reinforced polymer composites show equivalent mechanical properties and lightweight performance compared to glass fiber reinforced composites; in terms of stiffness, viz. specific stiffness (the ratio of Young's modulus to density), their low strength has been a technical barrier for their widespread adoption in different industrial sectors.

In particular, the brittleness of flax fibers and biopolymers such as PLA has been a main drawback of such materials. In the SeaBioComp project, we have developed a new composite system by implementing two different reinforcements, i.e. flax fibers and PLA fibers, into a coPLA matrix.

While flax fibers bring the stiffness, ductile PLA fibers can enhance the strength and reduce the weight of the composite materials owing to its low density.

From the mechnical test results, it has been proven that the specific strength (i.e. the ratio of strength to density) of this new biocomposite material is equivalent with that of sheet moulding compound (SMC) which is currently one of the most popular composite materials, whereas its specific stiffness is superior to that of SMC.

Moreover, even a complex part with a stiffener can be manufactured without wrinkles by the conventional compression molding of a dry fabric preform whose processing temperature is the same as that of SMC compression moulding.

Another advantage is that the storage life time is almost infinite whereas thermoset-based composites such as SMC should be conserved at a low temperature within a limited duration.

Among some potential industrial applications is a skim-board which has been fabricated by hand-layup of thermoset resin and fibers using a process that is labour intensive and using materials that have heavy carbon footprints.

A scientific paper is being prepared to present the results of this development and will be reported via this website in 2022.

More information about the specific characteristics of the materials being developed by the SeaBioComp project can be downloaded from the website at the following link:

Posted 2021-12-14 17:49:26

New report on ecotoxicity effects due to biopolymers and fossil fuel based products in the marine enviroment available to download

For this latest report, the SeaBioComp project has assessed and compared the effect of leachate from a biocomposite and leachate from a fossil-fuel polymer in the marine environment.

The dependence of fossil fuel-based polymers in human society has led to a series of environmental issues, such as accumulation of plastic debris. Polymers made from a natural-sourced feedstock, like polylactic acid (PLA) and thermoplastic starch (TPS), known as biocomposites, are seen as potential alternatives.

However, concerns are emerging as to whether these biocomposites have a lower ecological impact than fossil-fuel based polymers. In the marine environment, plastic additives can be released, i.e. can leach, from plastic to the surrounding seawater and organisms. Studies have demonstrated the negative effects of leachate from several fossil fuel-based polymers on marine organisms, however, to date, few studies have assessed the potential effect of leachate from biocomposites.

To read the full report please go to the downloads section of the website at the following link: where you can access this latest report; SeaBioComp_D3.3.2 Report on ecotoxicity effects due to biopolymers.pdf

Posted 2021-12-14 15:01:55

SeaBioComp project attracts interest in academic papers

The SeaBioComp academic partners have been active in disseminating research outputs of the project by publishing papers in various scientific journals and judging by their submission success rate, there is strong interest in the subject of bio-polymer composites.

The University of Plymouth have had their article 'Monomer selection for in-situ polymerisation infusion manufacture of natural fibre reinforced thermoplastic matrix marine composites' article published in MDPI Polymers journal. Their article can be downloaded from the SeaBioComp website at or on the MDPI site at

Project partner VLIZ has included details of the SeaBioComp project in the publication, 'Overview of the research landscape and scientific information on marine litter and microplastics in Belgium'. A copy of the publication can be downloaded at the following link:

The University of Plymouth has also had a paper published on 'In Situ Polymerisation of L-lactide: Process Optimisation for PLA Matrix Composite Production' in the scientific journal Fibrenamics Science in June 2021. See link for details

John Summerscales and his colleagues from the University of Plymouth has also published on the topic of marine debris in the I.M3 scientific journal of the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining.

Most recently the SeaBioComp Work Package 3 (WP3) partners, namely, University of Portsmouth, Ifremer and VLIZ have had their paper entitled, 'The Long-term durability and ecotoxicity of biocomposites in marine environments: a review' published in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Advances. Download it from the SeaBioComp website at the following link:

Posted 2021-11-02 15:30:11

Updated Assessment of the microplastic formation and toxicity of biobased composites 2021

Project partner VLIZ has updated their assessment of the microplastic formation and toxicity of biobased composites in a new paper which is available to download from our website.

The new findings were recently presented at the 52nd Liege Colloquium on Ocean Dynamics in May 2021.

The goal for SeaBioComp is to produce a new biocomposite for marine applications. The VLIZ research has assessed microplastics formation under sunlight exposure and also assessed the ecotoxicological effects of leaching substrates.

The results are available to download at the following link as well as a number of other results from the SeaBioComp project.

Posted 2021-06-09 11:18:07

SeaBioComp is co-funded under the EU Interreg 2 Seas Programme

The project will run to February 2023 with an overall budget of Euro4.1M, Euro2.5M of which (60%) is funded from the European Regional Development Fund.

The SeaBioComp project partners include research institutions, university research groups, SMEs and specialist cluster organisations.

To be kept informed of the project results, activities and events please sign up to the Interest Group at:

To find out more about the SeaBioComp project download the project leaflet and infographic from the website at:

Posted 2020-12-14 14:09:58