A project between two organisations to design a new range of electricity or telephone transmission poles from environmentally friendly composite materials has been awarded a research and development grant for £70,000 from Innovate UK.
Currently, transmission poles and railway sleepers are the only two materials allowed to be coated in creosote, but the race is on to find an alternative solution.
Brought together by the Enterprise Europe Network team at RTC North, Pollywood Ltd based in Leeds is working with The BioComposites Centre within Bangor University.
Pollywood specialises in the development of a new family of green composite materials for the construction industry. In particular, the company is developing a collection of composite resources produced from natural grown materials from responsible renewable sources.
The aim is to provide a green alternative to high environmental impact and energy consuming materials including steel, aluminium, Glass Re-enforced Plastic (GRP), bricks and cement and oil based plastics. With a Pollywood composite pole, each tree will be able to produce several poles, reducing the overall cost in the number of trees transported from where the wood was felled.
The Bio Composites Centre within Bangor University has been established for over 25 years and provides research and scale-up facilities for collaborative R&D and direct industry funded research. The centre offers a wide range of processing techniques including supercritical fluids for extraction, fractionation and reactions, wet fractionation and a wide range of biocomposite and biopolymer processing techniques.
Both organisations attended BioRenew Tech Match, EEN Matchmaking event during the 11th International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries, York (UK) on the 03/04 June 2015. During the meeting further discussion about potential joint projects were agreed, leading to a joint application being submitted for the Innovate UK Competition for funding: Materials for demanding environments.