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Smithers Rapra has joined a thirteen-strong European consortium that will carry out research into the development of a hydro-acoustic radial cell decortication process for the clean, continuous, high volume production of high quality natural fibres.
More than €1.7 million of direct financial assistance will be provided by the European Commission throughout the duration of the project. The three-year project, called UltraFibre, is part-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme and aims to undertake research to reduce the costs associated with the processing of natural fibres, whilst improving fibre quality, consistency and efficiency. It is intended that this will be achieved by delivering a scalable, economic, continuous, clean fluidsonics technology to deliver tonnage quantities of high quality fibre, giving reduced production costs for high quality natural fibres and composites.
Smithers Rapra’s Project Leader, Suzanne Wilkinson said “Smithers Rapra will bring our extensive knowledge of both polymer and polymer composite technology to the Project. The UltraFibre project aims to realise these goals by developing the patented “InControl hydro-acoustic system” and “AcXys Technologies atmospheric plasma treatment system” for improved adhesion between polymeric materials and the natural fibres”.
The UltraFibre consortium is comprised of RTOs (Research & Technology Organisations), Associations and SMEs:
RTOs: Smithers Rapra (UK), GreenGran BV (Netherlands), InControl Ultrasonics Ltd. (UK) and Wageningen UR – Food and Biobased Research (Netherlands).
Associations: Assocomaplast (Italy), European Industrial Hemp Association (Germany) and British Plastics Federation (UK).
SMEs: Kenaf Eco Fibres Italia Spa (Italy), Marek Radwañski Ekotex (Poland), AcXys Technologies SA (France), Omega Makina Ltd. (Turkey), MoveVirgo Limited (UK) and CESAP (Italy).
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