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.

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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

Image of Professor Hom Dhakal

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Professor Hom Dhakal

  • Job Title Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Email Address Hom.Dhakal@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Mechanical and Design Engineering
  • Faculty Faculty of Technology
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor

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