Swiss company Bcomp is intent on making biodegradable, lightweight materials for race car seats and satellite panels

Race car seats and satellite panels will soon be biodegradable – thanks to this company

Bcomp’s composites – made from natural fabrics – offer game-changing, sustainable solutions in fields ranging from motorsport to space

by : Nick Measures

From a garage in Lausanne to the high-octane world of F1, it’s been quite the ride for the team behind Bcomp. It all started in 2011, when two sports-mad Swiss material scientists, Christian Fischer and Julien Rion, created bCores – high-performance skis that used natural flax fibre to reinforce and strengthen a balsa wood core. These skis were lightweight, incredibly strong, and an instant hit with leading freeride skiers.

Fast forward 10 years later, and you’ll find Bcomp’s proprietary components in everything from hypercars to bridges and sailboats to satellites. The company has even worked with the McLaren F1 team to create the first natural fibre composite racing seat – using a flax fibre composite and an ultra-light, ultra-strong reinforcement grid inspired by the veins of a leaf – with hopes that it will feature in one of McLaren’s cars as the sport embraces sustainable materials.

The benefits of the technology are clear: Bcomp offers a product that is nine per cent lighter than any equivalent carbon material, has improved crash behaviour, offers five times better vibration damping and reduces raw material costs by up to 30 per cent, compared with traditional carbon fibre.

Then comes the icing on the cake: the seats are made from sustainable materials that can be grown in a field. At the end of the seat’s life, it can simply be ground down to become a new base material or incinerated to create thermal energy.

At the end of the racing car seat’s life, it can simply be ground down to become a new base material or incinerated to create thermal energy.

“We match conventional carbon fibre, while lowering the eco footprint by 75 per cent,” explains CEO and co-founder Fischer.

Other notable projects include working with Porsche Motorsports to produce a full natural fibre body kit for the Cayman 718 GT4 CS MR; a partnership with Morand cars to help develop the first Swiss Hypercar; using its technology in the hull of Baltic Yachts’ eco-day sailer; and its involvement in a soon-to-be produced version of the Polestar Precept, a four-door electric car by the subsidiary of Volvo Cars and Geely.

And Bcomp isn’t just looking at what’s on the ground. It’s also lending its expertise to create satellite panels for European Space Agency’s Clean Space programme. The aim? To make space exploration more sustainable.

For Bcomp, the sky isn’t the limit, it’s nothing more than a checkpoint.