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Project Newsletter No.2          

February 2024          

r-LightBioCom sustainable bio-based HPC
Dear Reader,
We are excited to share with you the second newsletter of the r-LightBioCom project, which proposes a paradigm shift in the way high-performance composites (HPC) are manufactured and recycled, unlocking sustainable-by-design production of lightweight HPC.

In this issue, find out about:
  • the first achieved project milestone 
  • established collaborations with fellow EU-funded research projects
  • main dissemination and communication activities carried out over the last six months as well as 
  • news and publications.
We hope you will enjoy reading this newsletter.

1st Project Milestone reached

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In December 2023, we have reached our first milestone identifying flax, hemp and basalt as well as recycled carbon fibres (r-CF), recycled glass fibres (r-GF) and recycled aramid fibres (r-Aramid) as sustainable fibres viable for project implementation. By reaching this milestone, we have laid essential groundwork for the development of new high-performance composites for meeting the sustainability requirements of the project’s envisaged automotive, infrastructure and aeronautics use cases.

Collaborations with other EU-funded Projects

We are teaming up with the like-minded research projects FOREST, FURHY, SUSPENS and MC4. Our shared mission: Developing innovative composite materials with a reduced environmental impact.
Through collaborative efforts, we aim to raise and propel awareness on the importance of sustainable composite materials using bio-based and recycled constituents, low-energy production and recycling processes.

Read more about our fellow projects under:



2nd Project Meeting

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In September 2023, r-LightBioCom's consortium got together for the 2nd project meeting. Hosted by the project partners Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (Institute for Composite Materials) and Hochschule Kaiserslautern (University for Applied Sciences) in Kaiserslautern, Germany, the consortium took the opportunity to present and discuss the project’s progress and set the goals for the next months. 

Read here about the meeting: 

Collaborative meeting with experts and professionals from across the entire composite value chain

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In November 2023, r-LightBioCom has been featured at the collaborative meeting between the Composite United working group ‚Biocomposites‘ and the ‚Natural Fibres‘ working group of the Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Co-hosted by r-LightBioCom's project partner Hochschule Kaiserslautern (University for Applied Sciences), Prof. Dr. Luisa Medina provided insight, among others, on current work to hybridise bast fibres with high performance inorganic basalt fibres in nonwovens to improve the overall performance of composites without reducing the natural component ratio, and results of mechanical fibre characterisation of aramid fibres after different recycling processes.

The meeting provided an ideal platform to introduce r-LightBioCom to experts and professionals from all areas of the biocomposites and natural fibre-reinforced polymers value chain and to exchange ideas with them.

Read here more about the meeting and Prof. Dr. Luisa Medina's research conclusions: 
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3rd Global Conference on Polymers, Plastics and Composites

11.-12.09.2023, Barcelona, Spain

Liudmyla Gryshchuk from Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (Institute for Composite Materials) held an excellent presentation, introducing the r-LightBioCom project to the scientific and industrial community and presenting project results on bio-based epoxy composite foams for constructive applications, their chemical recycling and successful reuse of their recyclates in the preparation of polyurethane foams.
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ECOSYSTEX Insights Series #5 Webinar

22.09.2023, online

David Fenollar from AITEX introduced the r-LightBioCom project as well as work conducted and results obtained in the project so far in regard to ‘New bio-based intermediates using sustainable textiles and resins’.


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Composites Madrid 

15.-16.11.2023, Madrid, Spain

Iván Doménech Martínez from AITEX showcased r-LightBioCom during his presentation about ‘Revaluation of carbon fibre and other fibres from composite materials’. Among others, he gave latest insight on the project progress in regard to the new high-performance composite materials and components being developed as part of r-LightBioCom.


Upcoming Events

For upcoming events in which you can meet and engage with r-LightBioCom, we will inform you on our social media channels. Therefore, stay tuned and follow our channels: 

Scientific Publications

Influence of Enzymatically Hydrophobized Hemp Protein on Morphology and Mechanical Properties of Bio-Based Polyurethane and Epoxy Foams
Ferreres, G. (UPC); Pérez-Rafael, S. (UPC; Morena, A.G. (UPC); Tzanov, T. (UPC); Gryshchuk, L. (IVW). 
In: Polymers, 2023, 15, 3608. September 2023.

In this joint study, r-LightBioCom‘s partners Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (Institute for Composite Materials, IVW) created and investigated hemp biomass bio-fillers, which offer the very good possibility to modify the mechanical properties of e.g. foams for composite materials. Hydrophobization of hemp protein (HHP) particles with lauryl gallate by an enzymatic, laccase-mediated functionalization allowed creating such filler, which effective reduce density of the polyurethane (PU) and epoxy (EP) composite foams. Introduction of HHP filler has different influence on the foams morphology – the fillers increased the size of the cells, while reducing the amount of open cells of PU foams and the amount of closed cells for EP foams. Moreover, both types of foams filled with hydrophobized filler reduced the moisture uptake by 80 and 45%, respectively, indicating the successful hydrophobization of the composites.
Lignin-Cobalt Nano-Enabled Poly(pseudo)rotaxane Supramolecular Hydrogel for Treating Chronic Wounds
Giulia Crivello [Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy], Angela Gala Morena [UPC], Tzanko Tzanov [UPC], et al. 
In: Pharmaceutics 15(6), June 2023. Open Access in National Library of Medicine

The treatment of chronical wounds requires a synergic approach in order to reduce inflammation and the bacterial burden of chronic wounds. In their joint study, researchers from the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, and r-LightBioCom’s partner Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) developed lightweight supramolecular nano-composite hydrogels embedded with cobalt-lignin nanoparticles as promising materials for chronic wound treatment.

Figure: SEM images of bacteria after treatment with CoLig NPs. The bacteria species used are
(a) P. aeruginosa and (b) S. aureus. Arrows indicate cells with damaged membranes.

Expected Publications

  • Influence of monomer structure on the properties and reprocessability of disulfide vitrimers. In: Journal of Applied Polymer Science or in EXPRESS Polymer Letter.
  • Practical Approaches to Circular Economy in Automotive Engineering: a Review. In: Advances in Engineering Software.
  • Bio epoxy composites obtained through frotal polymerization. In: Plásticos Modernos, Scientific journal of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
  • A framework for Holistic Optimisation of Composite Structures. In: International Journal of Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization 

r-LightBioCom Project Website updated

We have updated information about the project's development areas and use cases for validation, and revamped the main landing page with a brand-new layout. 
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Discover the new details under:

Thank you for reading!

Follow us on social media, and share the information with your colleagues and friends. 

Contact: info-r-LightBioCom@dlr.de
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Funded by the European Union under Grant Agreement Project No 101091691. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. The European Union cannot be held responsible.

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