Biorope: compostable rope as an alternative to synthetic mooring lines?

Biorope compostable rope reel developed by Intermas

The Intermas group is developing a biodegradable and compostable rope. Christian Guyomar tells us more about the characteristics of these moorings which could find nautical and port applications.

Ropes born for aquaculture

The Spanish company Intermas is one of the world's leading manufacturers of extruded mesh. The company based in Barcelona works in particular in the field of aquaculture for oyster bags and or crate netting. It has developed a compostable and biodegradable rope. "The work on the Biorope began with mussel farming. The catinage nets used to protect the mussels are now made of conventional plastic. At the end of their use, they are too dirty to be cleaned and are thrown away. Non-recyclable and single-use, they will be banned within 3 years. So we worked on a biodegradable and compostable material" explains Christian Guyomar, responsible for this market on the European Atlantic coast, based in Brittany.

Filet de catinage biodégradable pour les moules de bouchot
Biodegradable catching net for bouchot moulds

Following the filing of patents on the material and its implementation, Intermas approached rope manufacturers to consider, in a first stage, other applications in the sector through all the dormant elements in fishing and aquaculture.

Compostability on land and durability at sea

The Biorope begins to decompose from 58 degrees in a compost bin on land. It is certified OK-COMPOST. 3 months are enough to completely degrade it. "It is more compostable than pine needles" illustrates Christian Guyomar.

On the other hand, it retains its mechanical properties at sea. Tests on catenary nets show the durability of the material in a marine environment, submerged and emerged. "A hemp end (Editor's note: another durable alternative to plastic) lasts 3 to 4 months when the catenary net will last more than a year and even more for the Biorope end" says Christian Guyomar.

Cordage biorope développé par Intermas
Biorope rope developed by Intermas

Applications to be tested in the nautical and port sectors

After having introduced it into the markets it masters, Intermas wishes to explore new applications, in partnership with professionals from different sectors. "R&D has been done and the end is there. Now it has to evolve according to needs. We can envisage mixtures of materials, for example," sums up Christian Guyomar. With its negative buoyancy and high elasticity, the biorope tip could find applications in the nautical industry, particularly as a hawser. The mooring of buoys or pontoons for port managers is also conceivable. "If we manage to replace 15 to 20% of the existing synthetic tips, it will already be extraordinary," concludes Christian Guyomar.