Biocomposites in the UK

Something interesting might come out of this.

Hi Richard,

There’s a fabric called Biomid that may interest you.  Don’t know if it’s available in the UK (Gordon Shank, the mastermind, is in Canada but it’s woven in the U.S.).  Fibers made from wood cellulose through some process I don’t pretend to understand.  I got a couple yards as a free sample.  Supposedly has physical properties somewhere between E-glass and S-glass.  Comes as a 5-oz flat weave or in a couple other combos mixed with E-glass or aramid. Wets out pretty clear.  Has a lot of potential. I just haven’t had much time to play with it.



These are probably a form of High-tenacity rayon (can be made with anything containing cellulose, wood, bamboo, etc).

Nothing very eco about bamboo cloth (ie rayon).

  • cellulose is dissolved in caustic soda
  • reacted with carbon disulfide
  • viscose is formed,
  • and that is extruded into a bath of sulfuric acid, resulting in the formation of rayon filaments

But it’s got Bio in its name and there’s picture of lovely trees on the webpage, just ignore those big vats of corrosive chemicals eh?




BioMid is not viscose… The only ingredients (in-put materials) are raw cellulose, wind generated electricity, and water. For 1000 kg of in-put cellulose, 1000 kg of BioMid fiber is out-putted (meaning no waste), and a generation of 0.88 Kg. of Co2… For the same 1000 kg, typically, bast or glass fibers would generate several hundred Kg’s and synthetic fibers, several thousand Kg’s.

Some of the key points are that no farmlands are displaced, and that the input materials are produced regardless of being converted into BioMid or not. If we do not use the raw cellulose, it will be burned or become land-fill.

Hope this clarifies some concerns.


-Gordon Shank

Well, that’s encouraging Gordon.

Does that include the shipping to/from South Korea? The calculation of carbon footprints always confuse me. I suppose that should be improved when you start producing in North America?

Well, from what I’ve read on the Composites World website, it looks like an interesting product.  Your website seems a bit content-free at the mo, I couldn’t find any data-sheets.

In the meantime, I hopemyou don’t mind me linking couple of articles from Composites World.


Hi Gordon,

Good to see you weighing in here.  And thanks to Gadget for linking the articles for those who are interested.  I have the hardcopies in my office.  In fact, I was going to ask you (Gordon) if there has been any news since the last write-up.  Is there any distribution in Europe yet?

I’ve also wanted to ask if it’s possible to get cut yardage of Biomid (versus buying a full roll).  Or maybe that’s something to ask Absecon Mills(?)

Other than some small tests I did, I’ve been sitting on my sample material until I’m able to use it some other experiments that Rikds and I have discussed.


Hi Again,

The raw material for biomid is lumber industry by-products from here, Vancouver, Canada… and yes, the fiber production line is in Korea. Since we consumers buy so much from Asia, we have on average 1000 empty containers per DAY shipping from here to there… If 1 or 2 of the containers has several tons of raw material, the difference in CO^2 generation, of the container ship making a 10 day journey is really miniscule. Considering this, no, we don’t include it in the calcualtions.

There are a couple of reason for making the fiber in Korea. We are comitted to having the lowest enriromental impact possible, if we were to mfg in Vancouver, we’d have to constuct a new factory, however, in Korea, we make use of pre-existing equipment… Otherwise, the composite market is more or less 1/3 in Asia, 1/3 in Europe and 1/3 in North America… and all three locations are roughly equal distance from each other. We came to the conclusion that where ever we manufactured biomid, 1 third would stay, 1 third going east and 1 third going west.

Hope this shed a bit more light on the topic.