Mazda to develop bio-based polypropylene
Japanese automaker Mazda has signed a collaborative research agreement with Hiroshima University to develop a range...
Japanese automaker Mazda has signed a collaborative research agreement with Hiroshima University to develop a range of polypropylene bioplastics for automotive use from non-food derived cellulosic biomass.
According to Mazda, the project will use so-called “second generation” bioplastics manufacturing technology which makes use of non-edible high cellulose content vegetable matter such as plant stalks or wood shavings to create a range of bioplastics that will not risk competition with food production.
The target date to have a cellulosic-derived bioplastics material ready for use in car components is 2013.
“Development of a non-food-based bioplastic made from sustainable plant resources has great potential in the fight against global warming, and can help allay global food supply concerns,” said Seita Kanai, Mazda director and senior executive officer in charge of R&D.
The project will focus on designing a process for production of a polypropylene resin with the strength and durability required for car bumper and instrument panel applications, Kanai continued, and will involve converting cellulosic biomass to ethanol and then investigating various blends of ethylene and propylene.
Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) will also be taking part in the bioplastic project.Mazda’s previous bioplastic research project resulted in the development of a PLA-based fabric for use in seating and a number of improved heat resistance compounds, which have been showcased in the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid concept car, which the company hopes to make available in Japan later this year.
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