Development of eco-efficient bio-composites for civil engineering structural applications EcoComposite

PTDC/ECI-EGC/29597/2017 funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)

Partners IST
Total funding €239,881.28
Period 2019-2022
Project leadership Mário Garrido (PI), João Ramôa Correia, João Bordado (CERENA, IST)


The construction industry is responsible for a very significant portion of our society’s environmental impacts. Reducing these impacts and making this industry more sustainable is one of today’s greatest societal challenges. In the EcoComposite project, innovative eco-efficient fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) bio-composite components, produced with bio-based resins, will be developed for specific structural applications in civil engineering, aiming to achieve high mechanical performance and durability, low weight, and simultaneously low environmental impacts.

New bio-resin chemical structures and formulations will be developed and assessed, aiming at partial or total substitution of oil-based resin systems. The production of crosslinkable resins by modification of unsaturated polyester resins with bio-based monomers will be assessed.

Using a cradle-to-cradle Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology in combination with Multi-Criteria Optimization (MCO), innovative bio-composites will be developed for four key applications in civil engineering, for both new construction and rehabilitation: (i) strengthening of concrete beams and slabs; (ii) confinement of concrete columns; (iii) new sandwich panel structures; and (iv) new pultruded profiles. The components optimisation will integrate bio-resins, fibre reinforcements, laminate architecture, and manufacturing methods to achieve maximum eco-efficiency. Aspects such as carbon emissions, embodied energy, and end-of-life impact will be minimised and compared to those of conventional FRP composites used in construction.

The bio-resins and bio-composites will be produced in-house, ensuring the production quality control, and their short- and long-term behaviour will be experimentally investigated. The neat bio-resins and the resulting composites will be tested to assess their mechanical and thermo-physical properties, creep behaviour, and durability.

To maximise the economic and environmental benefits that may stem from this project’s results, industry outreach actions will be undertaken aiming at transferring the generated knowledge to the composites industry. This will be promoted through contacts with industrial partners, media awareness actions, and through the drafting of open-access technical guidelines. As a result of preliminary contacts with industrial partners, declarations of interest have already been obtained from the two largest national composites manufacturers for the construction sector, who recognize the high potential of this project and the possibility of industrial pilot implementations of bio-composite products. Given the transversal applicability of the bio-composites to be developed, additional contacts will be established to further disseminate the research results among industry partners linked to other sectors, such as aeronautics, naval, and automotive.


Vacuum Infusion | EcoComposite Project

Bio-based Resin Production | EcoComposite Project

Conference Presentations

Garrido, M., Correia, J.R., Shahid, M.T., Machado, M. (2021). “Definition of a moisture conversion factor for the durability design of GFRP materials for civil engineering applications”, 10th International Conference on FRP Composites in Civil Engineering (CICE 2020), Istanbul, 8-10 December.

Hofmann, M., Shahid, M.T., Garrido, M., Bordado, J.C., Correia J.R. (2021). “Development of bio-based composites for structural applications”, 1st Ibero-American Conference on Composite Materials (IAMaC2021), Porto, 29-30 July.


Hofmann, M., Bordado, J.C., Garrido, M., Correia, J.R., Shahid, M.T. (2021). “High performance unsaturated polyester resins based on renewable resources”, patent pending.

PhD Theses

Mateus de Assunção Hofmann, “Sustainable bio-based resins and fibre-polymer composites for civil engineering structural applications”, IST, 2022.

Md Abu Toyob Shahid, “Durability of bio-based resins and composites”, IST, ongoing.

MSc Dissertations

Frederico Barbosa Rodrigues, “Bio-based composites for structural applications in civil engineering: experimental evaluation of epoxy and unsaturated polyester bio-resins”, IST, July 2021.

Francisco Paixão, “Durability of bio-based FRP composites for civil engineering structural applications”, IST, ongoing.

Xavier Ferreira, “Development of sustainable basalt fibre reinforced bio-based polymer composites for structural applications in civil engineering”, IST, ongoing.

Ana Carolina Lopez, “Durability of bio-based CFRP reinforcement strips”, IST, ongoing.