Technological watch

JEC Composites reveals Startup Booster 2023 finalists

The top 20 finalists selected for the 2023 JEC Composites (Paris, France) Startup Booster competition under “Process, Manufacturing and Equipment,” and “Products and Materials” have been announced. Sponsored this year by Airbus, Mercedes-Benz and Owens Corning (Main Innovation Partners), as well as Mitsubishi Chemical Group (Innovation Partner), finalists will take to the stage at JEC World, April 25-27, 2023, to pitch their project before a panel of expert judges.

Launched in 2017, the JEC Composites Startup Booster has become a reference for entrepreneurship in the composites industry worldwide, giving SMEs, startups, academic spin-offs and more the opportunity to let their composite-related innovations shine. The Startup Booster has been organized in three different regions (Europe, the U.S. and Asia) and has already fostered the emergence of 700+ innovative projects from 60+ countries.

Two pitching sessions of 10 presentations each will be held in the Agora stage (Hall 6), on Tuesday, April 25th at 10 a.m. for the “Products & Materials” category and 4:30 p.m. for the “Process, Manufacturing and Equipment” category. Three winners will be chosen by the jury and one winner for the sustainable aspects of the project. The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 26th at 3 p.m.

The jury includes representatives from major manufacturers and investors:

  • Jelle Bloemhof, head of manufacturing technologies, Airbus 
  • Karl-Heinz Fueller, manager of future outside and materials, Mercedes-Benz AG
  • Raphael Salapete, R&T plan manager, Ariane Group
  • Christer Larsson, founding partner, The Impact Fellowship
  • Tim Rademacker, director sales composites EMEA, Mitsubishi Chemical Group
  • Chris Skinner, vice president of strategic marketing, Owens Corning
 Category: Products and Materials
  • Agrona (El Nozha, Egypt): Agrona manufactures 100% eco-friendly wood panels out of agricultural waste and bio-based resins without cutting a single tree. For every ton of panels produced by Agrona, three trees are saved and 500 cubic meters of CO2 emissions are avoided. Agrona aims to expand its operations to Europe in the next two years.
  • ALD Technical Solutions (San Diego, Calif., U.S.): ALD Technical Solutions, a cleantech woman-owned enterprise, is commercializing patented Composite WiRe Wrap and GridWrap technologies that increase grid infrastructural strength and integrity while doubling power transmission capacity with no downtime. 
  • Algreen (London, U.K.): Algreen provides sustainable solutions to petrol-based polyurethanes, which represent 8% of the world’s plastics. The company has invented fully bio-based and biodegradable polyurethanes. The global polyurethane market will be 29.2 million tons  by 2029. By replacing 1% of petrol-based polyurethane, Algreen eliminates 88 billion kilograms of CO2 equivalent annually.
  • Cobratex (Carbonne, France): Cobratex manufactures innovative bamboo reinforcements using its patented technology to extract bamboo strips that are then welded together to obtain a continuous ribbon of unidirectional (UD) fibers. This ribbon is said to be different from standard rovings, composed of fiber bundles and closed honeycomb-like structures. It offers a sustainable alternative with many technical advantages, according to the company. Cobratex provides the full range of reinforcements include dry fabrics (UD and woven) and prepreg fabrics (thermoplastic and thermoset).
  • Grafren (Linköping, Sweden): Grafren AB has a proprietary technology for manufacturing high quality-graphene materials and coating the fibers-based substrates. Since graphene is electrically and thermally conductive and fire and mechanically resistant, coating only four to five grams of graphene per square meter of fiber reportedly enables new composite material functionalities.
  • Green Gen Technologies (Toulouse, France): Green Gen Technologies is a French startup founded in 2017 that aims to revolutionize the packaging industry. Its French-made containers use bio-based, renewable and biodegradable materials.
  • Hycco (Toulouse, France): Hycco has developed a new concept of bipolar plates, a key component of hydrogen fuel cells, which represents 75% of their weight for 30% of their cost. The materials used simultaneously increase the lifetime of the fuel cells four time and reduce their weight (-50% to -90%), without compromising their compactness. With a prototype production line in place, Hycco aims to deploy a pilot production line of carbon fiber bipolar plates for hydrogen fuel cells by 2024.
  • INCA Renewable Technologies (Kelowna, Canada): INCA innovates and manufactures high-performance, cost-competitive and sustainable composite substitutes for petroleum-based plastics, rainforest plywood and balsa wood.â?¯ Its team says they have created the next generation of patented prepreg for Toyota.â?¯ INCA has also developed natural fiber composite solutions for Winnebago, Gurit and others.â?¯ The company acquires its fiber from industrial hemp grown on the Canadian Prairie for protein and will refine it to automotive standards in Alberta, Canada.
  • Mushroom Material (Singapore and Auckland, Australia): A mushroom-based alternative to polystyrene (Styrofoam) has been developed, combining agricultural waste with the root structure of mushrooms, or “mycelium.” The material is 100% sustainable and biodegradable. It is said to have the same protective properties as polystyrene and naturally degrades in a garden or landfill.
  • Mussel Polymers (MPI, Bethlehem, Pa., U.S.): Mussel Polymers manufactures and sells a biomimetic version of the glue that mussels use to stick to rocks. Poly (catechol-styrene) binds to wet and low-energy surfaces, and confers valuable surface functionalization.â?¯MPI partners with companies to develop new solutions for its customers.â?¯ Current products or those in development include a coral adhesive for use in aquariums and reef restoration, an underwater adhesive (U.S. Navy), anti-corrosion primers, dental adhesives and remineralization agents and a composite-strengthening sizing for carbon fibers.
 Category: “Process, Manufacturing and Equipment”                                          
  • Addyx (Montesilvano, Italy): Addyx is revolutionizing the design and manufacturing of complex-shaped, hollow, high-performance composites through additive manufacturing (AM) techniques and advanced topology optimization. The company’s patented water-soluble inflatable mandrel, together with a patented carbon exoskeleton technology, enables greater design freedom, reduced manufacturing costs, and lighter and stronger composite components. 
  • Catack-H (Seoul, Korea): Catack-H is a recycling company that uses a 100% eco-friendly technology to recover high-quality recycled carbon fibers from waste carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP), materials that would otherwise go to the landfill or get incinerated.
  • Composite Recycling (Ecublens, Switzerland): Composite Recycling has developed a highly energy efficient and sustainable process to separate the resin from the fibers. With the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the team has designed a post-treatment to clean the fibers and make them reusable in new composites.
  • Lineat Composites (Bristol, U.K.): Lineat Composites is an advanced cleantech manufacturing startup. It uses its patented aligned formable fiber technology (AFFTTM) to produce next-generation advanced carbon fiber composites, addressing key problems related to cost, productivity and sustainability. The process turns low-value chopped fibers into a new highly aligned fiber material that can compete with continuous fiber performance, closing the loop for technical carbon fiber reuse and bringing distinctive forming advantages for faster and more complex part manufacturing.
  • Microwave Solutions (Riehen, Switzerland): Microwave Solutions brings an agile and modular circular composites solution: Selective de-polymerization of the matrix into valuable monomers, oligomers and hydrocarbon products; recovery of high-quality glass fibers, carbon fibers and fillers and carbon conversion to nanomaterials.
  • Nova Carbon (Talence, France): Nova Carbon’s mission is to democratize the use of carbon fiber by developing a range of high-performance semi-finished products made from carbon fiber waste. Its disruptive approach is based on long fiber realignment, a technology patented by the University of Bordeaux that maintains the high performance of carbon fiber. Nova Carbon semi-finished products are designed for the composites industry.
  • Plyable (Oxford, U.K.): Plyable is reported to be a first-of-its-kind solution. Plyable uses the latest in AI and machine learning technology to create a proprietary software that automates the design and manufacture of composite tooling. All a user needs to do is drag and drop component CAD data into Plyable. The Plyable portal can then automatically generate a tool design, provide instantaneous prices for manufacture in a variety of different materials and deliver to your door. 
  • Synthesites (Uccle, Belgium): Synthesites is aiming to automate the curing process of composites in order to save up to 100% extra curing time. Since 2015, Synthesites developed the Online Resin State software that provides an accurate glass transition temperature (Tg) of a thermoset under curing. After tested successfully in a wide variety of liquid resins, prepregs or adhesives, Synthesites is working with OEMS in aerospace and wind energy to apply this technology in serial production.
  • TerraWaste (Rotterdam, Netherlands): TerraWasteâ?¯is developing a platform technologyâ?¯which focuses on recycling plastics, dry, wetâ?¯and mixed waste through an advanced chemical recycling pollution-free process resulting in high-value chemicals, oil and biochar. The technology used for this process is a high-pressure/high-temperature hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) system whose design includes highly efficient use of energy, water and catalysts producing zero wasteâ?¯while convertingâ?¯waste plastics into value.â?¯
  • Thermolysis (Taichung City, Taiwan): The Thermolysis’s Recycled carbon fiber is ideal for those who prioritize environmental sustainability and strength. This material is made from recycled carbon fibers, which reduces waste and supports sustainability efforts. Additionally, it has high strength and durability, making it a popular choice in various industries such as automotive, aerospace and construction. 
Learn about the finalists for the JEC Innovation Award 2023 or learn more about the event.

Publication date: 17/03/2023

Composites World (Products)

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31