This snowboard is made from paper — and it shreds like a dream

This snowboard is made from paper — and it shreds like a dream post thumbnail image

Skilled freeride snowboarder Cody Bramwell carves by means of the deep white powder, left-right-left-right, down the mountainside. He’s snow browsing, a singular, bind-less type of snowboarding invented in Japan within the Nineteen Eighties. 

Relatively than specializing in pace and methods, snow browsing is about discovering the circulation of the mountain, holding pace by means of flat sections and changing into one with the terrain. The game is greatest practised in recent, uncompressed powder, versus crowded ski slopes. 

It’s becoming then that the board Bramwell is driving was made in a method that has minimal affect on the pristine nature snow browsing relies upon upon. As an alternative of plastic or fibreglass, these snowsurfs are created from previous paper. 

British/Swedish professional snowboarder Cody Bramwell holding a papersurf. Credit score: Vincent Skoglund/Papersurf

“I needed to problem the established order and encourage corporations to take the step additional and take a look at various supplies,” says Vincent Skoglund, photographer and co-founder of Swedish audio tech darling Zound Industries (now Marshall Group), who final 12 months based Papersurf. Skoglund says he’s struggling to maintain up with orders for the boards, which begin at 4495 SEK (€390). 

The snowsurfs have been constructed by PaperShell, a Stockholm-based startup that has developed a option to flip paper waste right into a sturdy, high-tech composite it calls “wooden metallic.” 

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‘Design prospects are infinite’

“It’s like artwork and magic meets science and biology,” Anders Breitholtz, founder and CEO at PaperShell, tells TNW. “We have now created a fabric that’s enjoyable, smooth, fashionable and but versatile, sturdy, and round.”    

PaperShell’s wooden metallic can exchange high-impact supplies like aluminium, fibreglass, and plastics. It may be clean, matte, or textured. It may be flat, curved, or spherical. 

It’s warmth resistant (even self-extinguishing), water proof, sturdy, and lighter than fibreglass. It may be used to make furnishings, automobile panels, electronics, facades for buildings, skateboards, and, as we’ve already seen, snowsurfs.   

“The design prospects are, in impact, infinite,” says Breitholtz.

PaperShell’s wooden metallic might be moulded into just about something, from skateboards to circuit boards. Credit score: PaperShell

To make the fabric, PaperShell sources craft paper created from waste lignin and cellulose from the timber trade. It then soaks the paper in hemicellulose, a pure polymer discovered within the cell partitions of vegetation that’s available as a byproduct from agriculture.  

Whenever you create paper you lose lignin and hemicellulose that are big waste streams — so we thought, let’s put these again in to make a composite,” says Breitholz.

In essence, it builds again wooden.  

Studying from nature

Just about the whole lot we use and devour every day depends upon supplies like metallic, minerals, biomass, and fossil fuels. In 2022, the material footprint of the common European — the quantity of uncooked supplies dug as much as meet our wants — was virtually 15 tonnes. That is “merely unsustainable,” because the EU mentioned in a current report.          

The answer? To interrupt our linear take-make-waste consumption habits and make them round. In a round economic system, merchandise are designed to be reused. When they’re now not helpful, as an alternative of waste, they then change into a useful resource for one thing new, similar to in nature.  

“Nature has developed mindblowing biointelligence over 3.8 billion years — however humanity appears to be doing its greatest to undo that,” says Breitholz. “It’s time to begin working with the Earth, not towards it.”

At present most elderly wooden is incinerated or landfilled, releasing CO2 into the air or, within the case of handled timber, chemical compounds into the soil. 

If PaperShell’s materials was to be burnt on the finish of its life — a worst case situation — the corporate nonetheless claims a 90-98% discount in lifecycle carbon emissions when in comparison with the same-sized parts product of plastics, fibre composites, or metals. 

At WIRED affect in London final 12 months, PaperShell showcased the potential of mycelium to breakdown its composite materials. Credit score: PaperShell

Nonetheless, for PaperShell, that’s not practically adequate. The corporate desires to take the previous materials and switch it into biochar as a fertiliser to develop new bushes. They’re additionally experimenting with mycelium to interrupt down the high-tech wooden, return it to the soil, and foster biodiversity.

“We’re educating the mycelium to interrupt down our materials. That’s hardcore. That’s how we should always work. If we are able to faucet into that intelligence we’re loopy to not do it,” says Breitholz.

Making it work

Earlier than founding PaperShell in 2021, Breitholz labored for 20 years as a fabric scout for large firms and analysis establishments. His job was to trace down the following greatest, sustainable supplies for professionals starting from carmakers to architects.  

For the final three years, the self-proclaimed “loopy founder” and his staff have been testing and re-testing their product alongside trade gamers together with EV-maker Polestar and Italian furnishings firm Arper.  

“We had to verify it really works in an industrial context, so we teamed up with demanding shoppers, so we may fail quick and be taught rapidly,” says Breitholz.    

PaperShell has raised €20mn up to now, and is presently within the midst of one other funding spherical. Its board consists of execs from Swedish equipment producer Electrolux, recycling big Stena Metall, and design group Inside Enter.  

The corporate’s pilot plant, in Tibro, Sweden, has change into a testbed for the fabric. It has additionally fulfilled some small quantity orders — just like the Papersurf board. However now, PaperShell is able to take issues up a notch. 

PaperShell’s new manufacturing facility in Tibro, Sweden, is about to open. Credit score: PaperShell


PaperShell has simply constructed a brand new manufacturing facility in Tibro which marks a serious step up in capability in comparison with the present pilot plant — from 600 to three,2000 sq. metres of manufacturing ground area.   

The manufacturing facility will act as a build-to-print element manufacturing facility. It can use a collection of automated press tables to mould totally different shapes and designs based mostly upon particular orders. The wooden metallic will act as a fabric alternative for an current element — like a panel for a automobile — or for a wholly new product. 

From flat sheets to advanced 3D shapes, PaperShell expects to have the ability to produce as much as 700,000 parts a 12 months on the new plant. The corporate is planning to construct a fair larger manufacturing facility within the “close to future.” 

“This materials is definitely so easy, so low-tech,” says Breitholz. “However what actually excites me is that it has the potential to make an unlimited affect, to behave as a catalyst for change throughout so many industries.”

For snowboarder Cody Bramwell, enjoyable is probably high of thoughts. “Shout out to Papersurf, this board is sick!” he mentioned after a session of shredding powder within the Scandinavian backcountry.   

Verify this video to see how the papersurf was created:

<iframe title="Creating Paper°Surf. Section 2" width="500" top="281" srcdoc="*{padding:0;margin:0;overflow:hidden}html,physique{background:#000;top:100%}img{place:absolute;high:0;left:0;width:100%;top:100%;object-fit:cowl;transition:opacity .1s cubic-bezier(0.4,0,1,1)}a:hover img+img{opacity:1!vital}” frameborder=”0″ permit=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share” referrerpolicy=”strict-origin-when-cross-origin” allowfullscreen>[embedded content]

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