A strong combination of pulp and plastic
Aqvacomp biocomposite is an innovative, sustainable, energy-efficient combination material that uses natural cellulose fibre as reinforcement in plastic. What makes this product unique is that the fibre can be blended into the plastic directly from the pulp production process without drying, deriving optimal benefit from the reinforcing properties of the fibre. The ideal location for manufacturing this new biocomposite is thus right next to a pulp mill, which would enable biocomposite production capacity of about 8-10 tonnes per hour.
WITH GENUINE FEELING
As a bio-based material, one important advantage of the Aqvacomp biocomposite is its pleasant feel to the hand. Among the first products to be made from this new material are various musical instrument components that are not only nice to touch, but also have outstanding acoustic properties compared to conventional plastics. Other potential market opportunities include the automotive industry, consumer electronics and packaging.
Manufactured using the Wet Web Forming technology patented by Elastopoli Ltd in 2014, the Aqvacomp biocomposite provides a properties to weight ratio that is about 25 per cent better than respective fiberglass and mineral-filled composites.
The average modern passenger motor vehicle includes nearly 180 kg of polypropylene-based plastic materials, with annual consumption of mineral-filled polypropylene in the automotive industry alone amounting to approximately 10 million tonnes. This is a substantial market opportunity for cellulose fibre composite as a substitute material.
Replacing current composites reinforced with hemp, flax and other cultivated fibre materials with the Wet Web Forming composite would immediately reduce product weights by about 30 per cent.
Established in 2014, Aqvacomp Oy manufactures plastic composite materials at a facility in Sastamala, Western Finland. Its manufacturing technology is based on the work of Elastopoli Ltd, a rubber and plastics industry development company that is an R&D stage partner of the new Metsä Fibre bioproduct mill. Aqvacomp aims to launch cellulose fibre composite manufacturing on an industrial scale in 2017.