Solidwool is a unique, composite material. A new way of working with wool.
You could say it's like fibreglass, but with wool as the reinforcement instead of glass.
We've been fine tuning the material and manufacturing process for a good few years now.
We believe Solidwool can be considered in place of Injection Moulded Plastics and fibreglass. Wool is used as the reinforcement, bio-resins as the binder.
Our manufacturing methods are designed to have the lowest environmental impact we can. But this is just the start, we are doing what we can with the resources we currently have. There is and always will be room for improvement. We are constantly striving to make this material and our manufacturing processes better.
We aim to manufacture the most natural, lowest impact and highest quality wool composite material.
We want Solidwool to be considered as a sustainable alternative to today's petrochemical based structural reinforced plastics.
Wool is a sustainable resource. Not renewable. Sheep need fuel too. However the fleeces we use are plentiful.
We use wool from upland, hill-farmed sheep, historically used in the UK carpet industry. Demand for this wool has declined and is considered almost worthless, a by-product of sheep farming.
We are currently focused on using the wool from Herdwick sheep, the iconic breed of the British Lake District. This wool is wiry, dark and hard.
Regarded as the most hardy of all British breeds, they roam the high fells for most of the year, naturally hefting themselves to the land. This sense of place removes the need for walls high on the open fells with their instinct keeping them rooted to the place they have always lived.
It is believed that up to 99% of all Herdwick sheep are farmed in the central and western Lake District, with 95% of the breed within 14 miles of Coniston, Cumbria. That's provenance right there.
This wool is something special, but along the way, something has gone wrong and its perceived value has been lost. It is currently one of the lowest value wools in the UK. Once this wool was a major part of a shepherd's income. Now the wool from one sheep sells for around 40p.
But we see a beauty in this natural material and want to help see its value increase. The Herdwick flock and their shepherds are custodians of their wild landscape. We want to help them stay that way.
When used in Solidwool, Herdwick wool is beautiful, producing a dark grey composite with the lighter guard hairs standing out.
In order to make Solidwool, we combine the wool with bio-resin in a unique manufacturing process we have developed.
Traditionally the resins used in composites manufacture are 100% petrochemical and have varying levels of toxicity. They have a large carbon footprint and emit potentially harmful toxins during use. It stands to reason that these resins are not pleasant to work with.
The resins we currently use can be classed as bio-resins. They have a 20/30% bio-based renewable content. Sourced from waste streams of other industrial processes, such as wood pulp and bio-fuels production, our environmentally conscientious resin manufacturer claims a 33% reduction in Carbon Footprint and Greenhouse Gas Emissions during manufacture over traditional resins. Plus their green chemistry eliminates those harmful toxins, making it a more pleasant resin for us to work with.
These materials do not compete with food sources or displace food-based agriculture. The resins allow for strong and durable composites with a lower environmental impact. Better still, they are continually improving.
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