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Groupe Depestele backing for Greenboats

Guaranteeing the supply chain for natural fibre composites.

10th October 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Normandy, France

Transport/​Aerospace, Sustainable

As the leading European flax producer and a key member of the Alliance for European Flax-Linen and Hemp – Groupe Depestele has acquired a minority share in composite solutions pioneer Greenboats.

This strengthens an existing collaboration and positions Greenboats, which is based in Bremen, Germany, as a forerunner in building the technology and infrastructure needed for natural fibre composites (NFCs) to become a viable option to meet the industry’s growing demand for sustainable, lightweight components.

Circular Structures NFC profiles made from high-quality flax rovings and plant-based resins. © Greenboats

With its background as a supplier to the Marine industry, Greenboats has expanded into many other end-use industries and is behind the Circular Structures B2B business for the off-the-shelf supply of NFC profiles made from high-quality flax rovings and plant-based resins. The combination of natural flax fibres and greener resins provides an optimised balance of lightness, stability and sustainability. These composites are not just an ecological alternative to conventional materials but also offer similar or even better mechanical properties than competing products.

Another Bremen-based business, Greenlander, has partnered with Greenboats and Circular Structures to produce the Sherpa 4X4 vehicle, exploiting NFCs in combination with other sustainable core materials such as cork, wood and recycled PET to offer high performance while significantly reducing environmental impact.

The Sherpa 4X4. © Greenlander

“We’re at a pivotal juncture in the evolution of NFCs as a new product category,” says Jan Paul Schirmer, managing director of Greenboats. “Our clients believe in our technology but demand a more reliable and scalable supply chain. Our partnership with Groupe Depestele is based on respect and a mutual vision. Its investment is a strong vote of confidence in what we can achieve together and we couldn’t have hoped for a more fitting partner.”

Groupe Depestele manages 13,000 hectares of flax land in Normandy, France. Since 1850, the family-owned company has been a key player in the flax industry, sourcing from more than 750 farmers across several regions and operating three scutching plants focused on the initial processing of flax fibres, a combing unit, and a manufacturing unit dedicated to creating linen-based composite reinforcements. The origin of the company’s products is ensured by of the Alliance for European Flax-Linen and Hemp’s European Flax certification.

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