Please select your home edition
Edition
SW newsletters (top)

Class Xero combines coffee and epoxy in sustainable yacht design

by Epoxycraft 19 Oct 09:00 PDT
Craig Palmer participated in the Clipper Race, on the Cape Town to Australia leg © Alec Smith / www.imagemundi.com

Craig Palmer, based in Worthing, is looking at opportunities to bring the marine industry together in a collaborative way. In the middle of building a sustainable ocean-going yacht Class Xero, he says that the industry is rightly under a lot of pressure to change, he's ready to take the next steps and he's using PRO-SET® epoxy to do so.

He's been designing a Mini Transat 6.5 racing yacht for the past 12 years and was wondering how to afford making it with carbon fibre, when his sustainable eureka moment came last year.

"I did the Clipper Race - Cape Town to Australia - and was blown away on the Southern Ocean by the amount of wildlife - especially around Cape Town," he says. "The whales were incredible, but closer to Australia the wildlife disappeared and it struck me what a loss it would be if man's contribution to the planet was no wildlife left.

"I started thinking about the marine industry and its impact on nature. There're lots of issues with glass fibre boats going to landfill so while I was racing I redesigned the boat to be bio-sustainable."

The project is wide-ranging. His existing plans expanded into developing and building his safe, ocean-going yacht design from eco-materials while bringing a wide variety of similarly minded marine partners on board. He's currently progressing to prototype build phase of hull X0.

When lockdown hit, with 'six weeks to devote to the project', he started his research. He settled on a recycled plastic panel with a honeycomb centre to form the basis of flat areas like the bulk heads and flooring.

But, for all the 'curvy bits' that need moulding, Craig started looking into flax and bio-resins. That's when he discovered a range of custom formulated PRO-SET® bio-based epoxies.

"I needed something bio-based," he says, "but that will work. It's a question of picking the appropriate material for the particular application within the boat."

PRO-SET epoxy quickly rose on his radar, not only for its superior properties but also for its credentials, for example, PRO-SET bio-based infusion epoxy yields a 26% bio-content within the cured epoxy matrix. Now Craig's looking at how to use PRO-SET epoxy to mould recycled materials in the most effective manner.

"I noticed someone using coffee grounds to make sunglasses in Poland as a filler material to bulk out resins," Craig says, "so I'm experimenting with them. But both coffee and flax absorb a lot of resin, so I'm working out how to minimise that."

Currently Craig's working with new PRO-SET bio-based M1052 laminating epoxy resin with LAM-226 hardener and M1051 adhesive epoxy resin with ADV-275 hardener (medium cure).

The plan is to compress the coffee grounds and overlay them with unidirectional composite flax fibre, infused with bio-based epoxy resin.

He's also investigating how to get his yacht design, with epoxy resin mix, approved for wider application.

"I've been talking to Southampton University," he says. "The university did some work with Lloyd's Register about ten years ago on a similar project.

"I need the approval body to approve the design from the structural point of view. There's no readily available information to support my calculations with these epoxies and recyclable materials. This means other boat builders can't use epoxy and recyclables in this way as they're not approved yet, but when they are, that'll be a huge step forward."

The university has been working on bio-resins and natural fibre research (originally sponsored by Lloyd's Register Educational Trust) for about 13 years. It says the maritime environment is a real tough test for these materials but it's seeing increasing interest in how to best deploy these in an industry that, outside the high-performance carbon fibre composites, is otherwise so heavily dominated by unsustainable glass fibre construction.

Craig thinks it's unlikely he'll end up with a boatbuilding business (he's looking for a partner to do that on his behalf) but he's confident he'll end up with a consultancy, based around using recyclable materials for boatbuilding.

But before he gets to that stage he's got to make the first hull and is really interested in hearing from those in the industry who are working to similar end goals, and who want to show off their sustainable products on his prototype as he circumnavigates the UK. Craig, an RYA Offshore Master, also runs CraigSailing CIC, an organisation dedicated to helping people overcome depression through sailing.

Related Articles

Stunning Colour Tints for Epoxy Creations
New additions to the bio-based Entropy Resins range An exciting line of liquid colours has been released to add bold and beautiful tints to epoxy. The tints are part of the bio-based Entropy Resins® product range and can be added to epoxy creations (after the resin and hardener is mixed). Posted on 21 Sep
Industry approval for epoxy resins
PRO-SET epoxies and WEST SYSTEM resin/hardener certified The following PRO-SET epoxy systems have been approved by DNV GL for use on ships, yachts and as 'laminating resin for construction of laminates made of fibre reinforced plastics'. Posted on 17 Sep
Life After Pi
Charity teaches students to use epoxy resin on lifeboat used in documentary Oarsome Chance, the Gosport-based charity, has been using WEST SYSTEM epoxy to aid in a classic engine refit. Posted on 21 Aug
Stunning colour tints for epoxy creations released
An exciting line of liquid colours has been released to add bold and beautiful tints to epoxy Specifically designed for epoxy river tables, jewellery and other crafts as well as sporting equipment like surf, skate and snowboards, the beautiful selection of colours come in two thematic packs, Soft and Vivid. Posted on 1 Aug
DNV GL approval for Pro-Set epoxies
Lloyd's Register approval for WS resin and hardener combination PRO-SET epoxy systems have been approved by DNV GL for use on ships, yachts and as 'laminating resin for construction of laminates made of fibre reinforced plastics'. Posted on 14 Jul
Building a wooden dinghy with epoxy resin part 3
Completing the hull and making an amazing spinnaker chute Steve Goodchild wanted to avoid nailing the planks to offset chocks set against the frames, as this would leave multiple rows of nail holes visible in the wood. Instead, he decided to glue the entire hull together using thickened epoxy. Posted on 11 Jun
Chandleries currently open stocking epoxy resin
Places to buy West System products during June 2020 in the UK We're all eagerly anticipating the reopening of retail outlets. In the meantime, if you're looking to stock up on your favourite epoxy brands, here are some WEST SYSTEM®, PRO-SET® and Entropy Resins® epoxy stockists who we know are currently open. Posted on 5 Jun
WEST SYSTEM® epoxy set to go sub-orbital
NOVA 2 rocket within ten months of its first launch A NOVA 2 rocket being developed by Starchaser is within ten months of its first launch. This one-seater rocket is a significant step towards future plans which include a rocket capable of taking two passengers with the pilot. Posted on 1 Jun
West System used to create bullet coat racks
New lockdown project using epoxy resin Dee (David) Caldwell has spent his lockdown creating bullet coat racks. Using locally sourced WW2 bullets he's collected at Medmerry, West Sussex, and wood from a cedar planted by Capability Brown, he's started a new business in his garden workshop. Posted on 13 May
MBW newsletters (top)