Magna International Inc. has signed a cooperation agreement with bio-on, an Italian intellectual property company, to start exclusive R&D activities on the use of bio plastics for the automotive industry.
bio-on has developed a bio plastic created by naturally occurring bacteria which feed off sugar beet by-products. In the process of fermentation, the material is turned into plastic (polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA) using no organic solvents. The result is said to be fully biodegradable in water and soil, an environmentally friendly product that does not rely on food as an input and could provide alternatives to conventional plastics for the automotive industry.
According to a statement, Magna, through its Interiors operating unit, is pairing with bio-on to research how production of this natural polyester product can be cost-effectively elevated to an industrial scale.
The two companies will test and evaluate how bio-on bio plastics will perform in different standard industry processes such as thermoforming. Magna Interiors will utilize its facility in Liberec, Czech Republic, for joint testing.
"We are excited about the possibilities this cooperation offers us to further support our customers in pursuit of environmentally friendly vehicles," said Albert Lidauer, president, Magna Interiors Global.
Magna Interiors, an operating unit of Aurora, Ont.-based Magna International Inc., is a global full-service supplier of automotive interior systems.