Greenboats has just brought on board the French family-owned company Depestele as a shareholder. This move was crucial for a strategic investment: The Bremen pioneer for sustainable composites needs liquid capital to purchase machinery, aiming to significantly expand and streamline its production. Besides the financial input, the partnership secures access to increasingly popular raw materials.
Flax plantation in France © Depestele
Production of flax fibre © Depestele
Greenboats has made a name for itself by producing environmentally friendly composites for boat hulls. An essential ingredient is flax, used similarly to fiberglass in GRP. The investor, Depestele, logically hails from the center of flax cultivation – the northern French Normandy.
The new shareholder of Greenboats has been marketing flax since 1850 and has become the most significant market player in Europe. Around 750 Norman farmers are contractually tied to Depestele. They cultivate an area of 13,000 hectares in Northwestern France. The French have been supplying Greenboats with raw materials for their eco-composite for some time, and now they have become co-owners of the company.
Friedrich Deimann © Kerstin ZillmerFriedrich Deimann
of Greenboats has long valued the expertise of the traditional company, stating, „Depestele is currently the only company that can supply untwisted yarn.“ This yarn is crucial for the German pioneer of Natural Fiber Composites (NFC instead of GRP) for the laying of flax mats, which in turn become laminates and sandwich panels. The Bremen-based company has been building not only boats but an entire production process for sustainable flax-based composites with bio epoxies for years. Friedrich Deimann has been developing these composite materials for many years, working together with the Bionics Department at the University of Bremen
. „It’s complex,“ Jan Paul Schirmer of Greenboats said in an interview with float
The hull is made of flax composite material © Greenboats
Friendly relations exist with Depestele
Furthermore, the relationship with the Depestele family is genuinely friendly. „They also appreciate us because we don’t just want to resell their product but refine it,“ says Jan Paul Schirmer. Thus, the conditions are perfect for even closer collaboration. The machine, which will start operating at a new (not yet disclosed) location in Germany this year, is a 40-meter-long panel production line – the panels are produced by combining fiber mats with natural resins and then pressing them.
Panels made of different natural fibres © Greenboats
According to Greenboats, the new machine can press composite plates up to 6 x 2.45 meters. These plates are attractive to large buyers, such as shipyards. A prime example was Boris Herrmann’s racing yacht, Malizia, which incorporated parts made from this material.