Meet Fairmat, a new French startup that wants to improve the recycling process for sophisticated composite materials. The company wants to produce new kinds of materials from material waste and sell them to industrial companies.
Fairmat just raised a $10 million funding round (€8.6 million) led by Singular. Various business angels also participated in the round.
“We’re working on a scalable solution that handles the end of life of these materials,” Fairmat founder Benjamin Saada told me. He previously co-founded Expliseat.
The company believes that high-tech materials aren’t going away. Carbon fiber composites are extremely useful for wind turbines or aircrafts, for instance, as they provide incredible properties. But you don’t need to use sophisticated materials for everything.
That’s why we rely heavily on cheaper materials, such as plastics, wood and various metal alloys to build new stuff. Fairmat doesn’t want to replace carbon fiber composite in wind turbines and aircrafts.
It wants to replace plastics, wood and metal in everyday objects. The company is transforming existing carbon fiber composite into a new material that is both lightweight and robust.
“Today, carbon composite waste is essentially burned or landfilled,” Saada said. With Fairmat’s process, the company can recycle the composite material with a mechanical process that isn't too demanding. It doesn’t involve heating carbon fiber composite waste for instance. The startup is also relying on machine learning to test the physical properties of its material.
Fairmat then plans to sell its material to industrial clients so they can use it themselves. For instance, you could imagine building the cargo box of a cargo bike with Fairmat’s material. It could be lighter than wood or metal and it also offers a better carbon footprint compared to virgin material.
Up next, Faitmat plans to increase the size of its team from 15 to 30 team members. The company is working on partnerships with suppliers for carbon fiber composite waste as well as potential clients. It expects to start selling its material at scale at some point during the second quarter of 2022.
After that, the startup will iterate and work on other types of material with different properties. In a couple of years, if everything goes well, you might be buying a chair, a laptop or a car built with the company’s material without realizing it.