Sustainability on the Soccer Field - Innovative Artificial Turf System is Tested in the Soccerbox of the University Sports Center

02/02/2024
BioTurf trial Copyright: © ITA

An innovative new artificial turf system has been laid on the soccer pitches in the Soccerbox at the RWTH University Sports Center (HSZ) for several months now. BioTurf offers a sustainable alternative to conventional artificial turf. A playable real-life laboratory is currently running in the Soccerbox, where the sustainable artificial turf is being used on a large scale for the first time.

 

Artificial turf is increasingly being used as a surface on sports fields. Artificial turf offers numerous advantages over natural turf: this surface is much easier to maintain and can therefore be used more intensively. However, there are a number of problems associated with the use of conventional artificial turf.

Conventional artificial turf is made from petroleum-based polyester fibers that are filled with sand and plastic granules. This multi-layered structure makes disposal and recycling very problematic. The innovative BioTurf artificial turf system is designed to provide a solution to this challenge. BioTurf is 100% recyclable. In the spirit of the circular economy, the aim of the project is to produce new artificial turf pitches of absolutely the same quality from recycled BioTurf artificial turf pitches. BioTurf was developed in the BIOTEXFUTURE innovation space of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Research is being conducted there into sustainable bio-based alternatives to petroleum-based textiles. BioTurf was developed by the Institute for Floor Systems (TFI) and the Institute of Textile Technology and Chair of Textile Engineering (ITA) at RWTH Aachen University.

One of the first real laboratories in which BioTurf is being tested is currently running in the Soccerbox at the University Sports Center. BioTurf was already laid as a flooring system on the small-sided football pitches at the end of 2023 and can now be played on there. Once this test phase is complete, the flooring system will be recycled from the Soccerbox in order to complete the process chain in line with the circular economy. Valuable knowledge will be gained from this real-life laboratory, which will then be used to further develop BioTurf.

The TFI and ITA institutes involved are looking forward to receiving feedback on the usability of BioTurf in the Soccerbox!