FLOWER (Flax composites, LOW weight, End of life and Recycling) aims to develop novel, low-cost, light-weight, non-woven and woven flax fibre reinforcements for the local composites industry. Biodegradable and bio-based thermoplastics will also be explored to ensure end-of-life sustainability.

The project aims to develop natural fibre composites that are cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, light-weight and viable alternatives to glass fibre composites for the automotive, marine, and point-of-sales advertising sectors.

The use of composites is widespread in industry: they account for about 20% of the mass of an automobile and almost all that of pleasure boats, which are currently made of glass fibres and a non-recyclable resin.

As part of the project, we will produce structural components of a flying boat (hydrofoil), which will make its maiden journey across the English Channel, automotive roof panels, and point-of-sales advertising display boards which will be made with the newly developed flax composite material technologies.

FLOWER is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the framework of the INTERREG France (Manche) England cross-border cooperation program. FLOWER has a total budget of €4,717,674.56 (including €3,179,427.16 European Union (ERDF – Interreg FCE) co-financing) and will run for 56 months, up to September 2022.

European Union Flag with European Regional Development Fund

The FLOWER project was selected under the European cross-border cooperation programme Interreg France (Channel) England and is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Our aims

The products developed as part of the FLOWER project aim to:

  • Reduce environmental impact due to the lightweight nature of the biodegradable and/or recyclable composites, which will be manufactured locally
  • Fully replace glass fibre composites in ships and auto parts
  • Promote the adoption of suitable biocomposite products in industry

The proposal aims to respond to real industrial demand by developing two main types of semi-finished products:

  • Non-woven reinforcements with a low grammage (50 gsm versus 200 gsm currently) or with recyclable polymers
  • Long fibre reinforcements for structural applications

Principal investigator

Hom Nath Dhakal Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor Hom Dhakal

Professor of Mechanical Engineering


School of Mechanical and Design Engineering

Faculty of Technology

PhD Supervisor

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Logo of the European cross-border cooperation programme, Interreg France (Channel) England
flower accolade

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Materials engineering

In response to the ever-worsening condition of our planet, our materials engineering research is helping make manufacturing more sustainable, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly.
Flax used as alternative manufacturing material
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Engineering Project Day, 30th April 2019; 
TEC-0419-Engineering Project Day
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