Composite materials investment

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today announced new investment totalling £22m to further advance the development of composite materials.

The investment is made up of £16m for a new National Composites Centre in the Bristol area; £5m in funding to be won via the Technology Strategy Board’s new ‘Grand Challenge’ competition launched today; and £1m upfront funding to help develop challenge bids.

In the ‘UK Composite Strategy’ document Lord Mandelson estimates that the composites market is currently worth about £1bn to the British economy. The UK offshore composite wind turbine blade and aerospace wing market alone is projected to be worth £22bn by 2020.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said: ‘Any modern economy is built on the ability to exploit the opportunities on offer by new and existing high-value markets – such as composites.

‘Our approach is now to back areas of the economy which have the biggest potential to create wealth and jobs and take advantage of the skills of our people.

‘Today’s new strategy will help us to exploit the potential of composite materials that could help us lower carbon emissions, make cost savings by making things that last longer and boost our position globally making the UK the place to produce and develop composites.’