Retrac Group signs up to Technology Evaluation with UK biomaterial start-up Cellexcel
Norwich, UK, 7 March 2023. Innovative biomaterial technology start-up Cellexcel today announced that it is working with leading UK composite specialist Retrac Composites who recently signed an Evaluation Licence to explore using Cellexcel’s technology in a component in a production application for electric vehicles.
The project will see Cellexcel’s patented technology, Cellexcellent™, used to enhance the water resistance of biomaterials within Retrac’s existing biocomposite panels, enabling them to be used in external vehicle applications, reducing both weight and embedded CO2 emissions. This extends the potential uses of biocomposites – as they naturally absorb moisture, biomaterials normally decay, limiting their previous use solely to internal applications.
The resulting panels will undergo a comprehensive test programme enabling Retrac to evaluate the technology in production applications and provide a new advanced material construction to their customer base. Delivering potential savings in weight to increase both the payload and range of vehicles through the use of biomaterials instead of emission-heavy alternatives such as fibreglass results in reductions in both manufacturing and operational CO2 emissions.
“Working with our strategic industry partner Retrac, this project moves our technology from the lab to a real production environment,” said Tim Pryce, Executive Chair, Cellexcel. “We will gain vital knowledge to fully commercialise our innovative water resistance technology within biomaterial composites, accelerating its wider use, and thus contributing to reducing embedded CO2 while delivering lighter weight vehicles with higher performance.”
Retrac Composites, part of the Retrac Group, is an emerging market leader in providing efficient, lightweight composite solutions and powertrain hardware for engineered solution in the transport and highly engineered application sector. It provides consultancy on lightweight strategy plus composite manufacturing capability for OEMs in the commercial transport sector, especially for low carbon and electric vehicles.
“Retrac is a trusted supplier to some of the largest brands in the automotive, aerospace and motorsport sectors,” said Dan Walmsley, CEO, Retrac Group. “As these industries shift to relying on more sustainable, lightweight solutions Retrac has positioned itself at the forefront of knowledge and techniques around the successful application of natural fibres and recycled composites. The signing of an Evaluation Licence to explore this exciting technology will extend our experience and help us to innovate, to meet our changing customer needs.”
The Evaluation Licence project is currently ongoing and is expected to be completed in Q4 2023.
Cellexcel’s technology aims to increase the adoption of biomaterials, reducing carbon emissions and increasing sustainability. To achieve this goal, it has developed a unique solution to chemically modify biomaterial properties, with the first application enabling greater water resistance. This enables bio-composites to be used in external applications, such as the exterior panels of cars, trucks, vans, or aircraft, dramatically reducing their carbon footprint without impacting strength or other properties.