French startup Fairmat closed a $35 million (€34 million) Series A funding round last month. The company wants to turn a carbon fiber composite that is no longer in use into a new material that can be used in new products.
Temasek and CNP (Compagnie Nationale à Portefeuille) lead the round, with Pictet Group, Singular, The Friedkin Group International and others also participating. In total, the company has raised $45.5 million (€44 million) since its inception.
The idea of Fairmat is quite simple. Some high-tech materials, such as carbon fiber composites, have excellent properties. These materials are lightweight, flexible and durable. That’s why you can find carbon fiber composites in wind turbines or airplanes.
When these industrial projects reach end-of-life status, Fairmat comes in and matches these elements with carbon fiber composites. The startup then creates a new kind of material that is not as complex as carbon fiber composites but can be quite useful.
You won’t find Fairmat material in wind turbines, but you can buy items you use in your daily life made from this new kind of material. This material called Fairmat Quest, and it can be 10 times cheaper than new composites and half the weight of aluminum.
And the company has made significant progress since I first article to Fairmat. It has signed partnership agreements with 15 industrial carbon fiber waste collection companies including Hexcel, Tarmac Aerosave, Siemens Gamesa, Dassault Aviation and MerConcept. This is a highly concentrated market as these 15 companies account for over 35% of carbon fiber composite waste in Europe.
At the other end of the market, some manufacturing companies are already working on prototypes of the new Fairmat material. While the startup can’t reveal the names of its 30 contracts, you’ll soon find sporting goods, audio products and furniture made with Fairmat Quest.
With today’s funding round, the company plans to gradually increase the capacity of its automated sorting plant. Ultimately, 100 robots will process up to 3,500 metric tons of scrap metal per year.
In 2023, Fairmat also plans to expand its operations in the US. The company currently employs 80 people. Fairmat hopes to have 400 employees by 2025.
Recycled materials have a much lower carbon footprint than virgin materials and this is the main reason why Fairmat will easily find customers in the coming years. Once carbon accounting rules become widespread, manufacturers will look at new materials such as Fairmat Quest to reduce the overall impact of their production.