Composites Could Green Up the Nautical Industry

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Composite materials like carbon fiber-reinforced resins make for lighter vessels, reducing fuel consumption

Currently found in high-end racing yachts, real impact will require more widespread use. Danish researchers are looking into employing composites in larger vessels. Retrofitting ferry superstructural elements with lightweight composites could offer real benefits, but lack of manufacturing standards has hampered the spread of such new technologies. Recyclable biocomposites also show promise. Producing a kilo of flax composite requires 5-10% less energy than glass fiber materials. A demo trimaran incorporates cork, balsa wood and biocomposites. Cost and wear are similar, but the marine sector still lags behind others.

Composites Could Green Up the Nautical Industry