"Today there are biocomposites for practically every application"
- Ms Partanen, how is the market for biocomposites currently developing?
Customers nowadays expect companies to offer less plastic in their products. However, this is difficult without limiting the performance and compatibility with existing technologies. Biocomposites can be the solution here. Meanwhile, 30 to 80 % of plastics can be replaced by biogenic fillers such as wood flour or cork or reinforced with natural fibres. The great advantage of this is that the granules can be processed in existing industrial plants without major adaptations. Be it in the areas of injection moulding, extrusion or additive manufacturing (3D printing). The largest volume of biocomposites is used in the extrusion of decking boards. However, we see the greatest growth in the area of biocomposite granulates. These offer an excellent alternative to classic plastic granulates, as they can be offered for a wide range of applications.
- What are the main drivers of this development?
The biogenic fillers and reinforcing materials increase the proportion of renewable carbon in the granulate, thus greatly reducing the proportion of fossil carbon. This makes it possible to leave fossil resources in the soil and thus protect the climate. If you want to use even more renewable raw materials for your products, bio-based and/or recycled plastics can be used. In this way, materials can be produced that consist exclusively of renewable carbon and completely do without fossil carbon. Most producers of biocomposite granules already offer various bio-based plastics as well as recycled PP and PE.
- Where do you see new markets in the application area?
Today there are biocomposites for practically every application, e.g. for consumer goods such as toys, handles, shoes, façade and terrace elements, floors, as well as for vehicles up to aerospace applications.