„With it, Greenboats could equip the interiors of five thousand 30-foot yachts annually,“ Schirmer provides an impression of the capacity. More importantly, the plant scales both the quantities and the costs: the plates can be produced up to 80 percent cheaper.
Could Greenboats even build that many yachts? Schirmer declines. „We want to industrialize this material.“ Meaning, it’s not just about boat building. In addition to the shipyard, which currently offers the Daysailer FX27 with a flax fiber hull and cork deck, Greenboats also operates a B2B distribution platform for the eco-material. Products from Greenboats have already been used for caravan walls, motor cowls on wind turbines, and covers for electric car charging stations.
Soon a requirement for alternative boat-building materials?
„The global composite market is a 100 billion dollar market,“ says Jan Paul Schirmer. Yet many people are unaware of how composites dominate their daily lives, „and how much of it is toxic waste.“ The lack of satisfactory recycling for GRP and especially for carbon fiber composites (CFRC) for boats was a significant reason for Jan Paul Schirmer and his partner, the boatbuilding master Friedrich Deimann, to found Greenboats.
So far, scaling up the operations has been challenging because NFC is still considerably more expensive to produce. Depestele’s involvement also shows that alternative financing seems to be a necessity in the alternative material industry. Nevertheless, the founders of Greenboats are convinced that time is on their side. „The European Industry Association EBI has hinted that from 2030, there might be a requirement to use alternative materials in boat construction,“ says Schirmer. Greenboats is working towards this.
Schirmer emphasizes, „We’re taking a significant risk here.“ But the demand will inevitably grow. Even if Greenboats primarily plans to become a supplier of semi-finished products of sustainable material for all industries, they always want to retain the workshop. Not least for the extensive Research and development projects (most recently with AIRBUS) and as a showcase for industry and customers of what’s possible.
There’s no shortage of positive feedback: „When people experience our products at trade fairs or events, they often can’t imagine buying a GRP product anymore.“ The costs and scalability have always been the main issue. But this is expected to change with the new production and partnership with Depestele. Schirmer is convinced that, when considering the entire process, the costs for sustainable composites are already lower today than for conventional GRP or CFRC. „If you look at the whole production process, manufacturing fiberglass is five times more energy-intensive than flax.“