S. Korea to demonstrate small fishing boat using carbon composite materials

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : April 29, 2022, 18:18 Updated : January 6, 2023, 01:10

[Courtesy of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups]

SEOUL -- The demonstration of small fishing boats manufactured with carbon fiber-reinforced polymers began in a state project aimed at nurturing the use of homemade carbon fibers and establishing an independent value chain of carbon materials in South Korea. 

Carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRP), or known as carbon composite, are extremely strong and light fiber-reinforced plastics. CFRPs are used in an increasing number of high-end products that require stiffness and low weight, such as aerospace, ship superstructures, automotive, civil engineering, sports equipment.
The Seoul government has designated North Jeolla Province as a special zone for regulatory freedom to promote South Korea's carbon fusion and composite industry through various demonstration projects with government support. One project is to demonstrate three CFRP vessels:  a three-ton multipurpose transportation boat, a seven-ton commercial fishing boat and a nine-ton leisure fishing boat.

The CFRP vessel demonstration project has been sponsored by the southwestern port city of Gunsan, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The demonstration of a three-ton boat began on April 29. Seven-ton and nine-ton boats will be demonstrated for seven months from June to verify their safety through fishing activities by actual fishermen.

CFRP fishing boats are eco-friendly and can increase fuel efficiency by more than 10 percent due to weight reduction. Compared to fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP), CFRP is more than 2.5 times stronger. However, current regulations governing the structure of fishing boats require consistent thickness regardless of materials. New standards will be applied to fishing boats using carbon composites to boost the price competitiveness of CFRP-applied fishing boats.

"We will lift regulations with related departments and provide enhanced support for small and medium-sized enterprises specializing in material business to reinvigorate the carbon material industry." the startup ministry official Kwon Hye-rin said in a statement on April 29. 

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