- 25 Jul 2022
- Chris Kjelgaard
- Jet Refurbishment
There’s more to Business Aviation sustainability than engine technology and fuel. As BizAv works towards Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, F/LIST is making great strides in environmentally-friendly cabin spaces…
Sustainability has become a watchword for the future of Business Aviation with the aerospace industry collectively navigating a pathway to a carbon neutral future by 2050.
It is a bold ambition with discussions around sustainability dominated by talk of electric, hydrogen and hybrid propulsion programs, as well as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) which is available now, although supply is still limited.
In the cabin, sustainability is already making its presence felt. OEMs and owners have started to question in detail how products are made and processed, which is positioning sustainability as part of the competitive landscape. The availability of sustainable options is influencing purchasing decisions and the need to offer attractive, compliant, competitively priced interiors that do not compromise on quality is now critical.
Anticipating and responding to these needs is Austria-based F/LIST. The third-generation family company is combining years of heritage, knowledge and craftsmanship with contemporary technology, new materials, and cross-industry knowledge-sharing, to satisfy the increased demand for light weight, high-performing, eco-friendly concepts.
Mélanie Prince (pictured left), Head of Innovation at F/LIST takes a visionary perspective leading a dynamic team to make the seemingly impossible, possible. The eclectic mix of experts include carbon fiber technology professionals from the F1 sector, jewellery designers and architects, amongst others.
“To enhance the passenger experience and disrupt the interiors sector we need to dream a little bit and change the status quo,” Prince says as she explains how her colleagues collaborate to define novel, environmentally-friendly concepts that will add inherent value to the customer experience, and the asset itself.
“We are ambassadors for cabin sustainability, and we can only ensure success by introducing new thinking around the subject. If we give our customers intriguing, stylish, yet functional materials we believe it will encourage them to think sustainability first when it comes to creating a cabin interior.
“Our incredible new product portfolio includes surprise and delight with its superior quality, design potential and elegant beauty as we provide the opportunity to turn design fiction into design fact.”
Unveiled at NBAA 2022, F/LIST showcased a range of new products (see image below) including F/LIST AENIGMA (pictured below, left), which fuses traditional jewelry techniques and aerospace technology with cutting-edge chemistry to combine elements as varied as F/LIST stone by-products and ground mother of pearl. The resulting, glamorous material would be as at home on the catwalk as on the runway.
Metallic manta ray skin, glistening geometric patterns, and textured glowing surfaces form the basis of the limitless range of possibilities which can be customized with color, texture and thickness for use on any surface in the cabin.
F/LIST WHISPER Leather (pictured below, right) is a new type of flexible textile produced from plant-based raw materials. Thin and lightweight, it delivers a fine but durable texture, and appealing, tactile surfaces, yet leaves a low environmental production footprint and is available in a wide selection of surface finishes for sidewalls, bulkheads or any area where a textile material is required.
The chameleon-like F/LIST LINFINIUM (main photo) is a linseed-based compound with applications ranging from immovable countertops to flexible flooring.
“We are ushering in a new era for cabin interiors, each material is not only sustainable but has been specified to deliver tangible advantages in terms of weight, durability, and function while simultaneously adding elegance and beauty, without compromising quality or cost,” Prince reveals.
F/LIST embraces external industry experience, and the innovators act as a conduit between aviation and a whole new set of suppliers. Prince’s team regularly liaises with start-ups devising impressive next-generation eco-materials, but who don’t have the experience of, or voice in, the aviation industry.
Luxury brands are also benefitting from the opportunities provided to have their high-end products redirected from the catwalk to the cabin. “We keep an open mind, examining every opportunity, but the screening process is intense,” Prince explains. “We must make sure materials are fire retardant and durable, that they are relevant and practical to work with, and that we can modify and repurpose them for the aerospace sector.
“It is a long iterative process, involves an element of failure, yet stimulates amazing results.”
The enhanced F/LIST portfolio introduces previously unseen materials to operators, OEMs and completion centers, demonstrating that sustainable materials can perform as well, if not better than existing products, last as long, and are visually stunning.
“Business Aviation travelers are surrounded by our products in the cabin, which supports engagement with sustainability. The cabin interior will inspire debate and discussion amongst peers, and most importantly influence their environmental mindset in the skies.”
Back to Basics…
Offering the best natural materials to the aerospace industry has always been fundamental to F/LIST. “We are going back to basics,” Prince says. “As our understanding of, and passion for natural products expands, we are creating innovative bio-based materials by applying bionic design to create smart structures that support loads and forces exactly where necessary.
“We are integrating plant fibers instead of synthetic fibers, as well as incorporating byproducts and materials from biorefineries. The results are strong yet light components that form cabin frameworks.”
For F/LIST sustainability extends beyond the product. It’s applied across the complete value chain. From fair and responsibly managed raw material sourcing to the use of solar and renewable energy, to supporting sustainable circular economies, F/LIST seeks to optimize the value delivered to the customer, while simultaneously minimizing resource consumption.
This perspective leads to game-changing business models that encompass extended reuse, repair, and refurbishment, and reinforces the sustainability message. Even F/LIST’s buildings are sustainably managed. The Thomasberg, Austria, headquarters is river cooled, the production plant is heated with renewable energy, and intelligent LED lighting brings light to the interiors.
“Our mission is to manufacture tangible and pragmatic innovations that support the sustainability narrative. If customers approach us with one idea, and we can transform it into a sustainable concept, that really motivates us.
“Our goal is to sustainably create eco-friendly products that meet and exceed customer expectations, last longer and can be recycled at the end of life,” Prince concludes.
More information from https://f-list.at