For a long time, little was heard from the Beneteau Group about new technologies, sustainable approaches and the use of new ecological materials. Finally, at the Cannes Yachting Festival 2022, Gianguido Girotti, Beneteau’s Deputy CEO and Chief Executive Officer of its Boat division, presented the new sustainability strategy of the world’s largest leisure boat builder.
With the comprehensive concept, the shipyard group aims to make the entire manufacturing process more sustainable over the next 10 years. Together with French resin manufacturer Arkema, Beneteau has developed a prototype First 44 that will be fully recyclable. This is the beginning of an extensive transition – internationally and in all segments. float spoke with Gianguido Girotti personally about the plans of the boat industry giant.
float: Gianguido, you have developed a new recyclable material together with Arkema. What is it all about?
Guianguido Girotti: Our main focus is on the fiberglass composite. Until now, no composite material could be heated and both components (fibers and resin) separated again afterwards. We chose Elium from Arkema, a resin that allows us to be 100% recyclable.
How does Beneteau work with Arkema?
We have contracted to fit the new Elium resin into our manufacturing processes. Each partner has their expertise. Not every resin behaves the same in processing. So we have to adjust series production accordingly. That’s not an easy task.
Is bio-based material also used?
We only use biofibers in some small, non-load-bearing parts, for cabinets, for example. Here we use bio-based resins with hemp fibers. These fibers have the advantage of growing quickly and locally. From a global sustainability point of view, this is very interesting.
In recent years Beneteau co-funded the Arkema trimaran. This involved design and materials research findings for the processing of the Elium resin in series production, right?
Yes. With the trimaran (which very successfully takes part in the current Route du Rhum race) we wanted to know how to develop a process that we could scale up to the whole system. We don’t just want to build a single boat sustainably. We want to make the entire production chain sustainable. Our main goal is to industrialize the new process and find the right ways in industrial adaptation.