Wednesday 29 October 2014

Automotive Biopolymers

José Rodilla, Senior Product Development Engineer with Faurecia - the world’s 6th largest supplier to the auto industry with a turnover of €16 billion - described their development of “NAFI Lean”, a composite of 80%PP and 20% hemp intended to replace their P/E copolymer in cockpits, door panels, instrument panels etc.  It’s lower density and reduced thickness compared with P/E copolymer or GRP are the key benefits with reduced fuel consumption being the USP for the auto industry.

Short-cut hemp is compounded with PP to make chips for injection mouldings.  Their use provides:
  ·         25% weight savings.
  ·         20% LCA Savings (CO2).
  ·         Processability on existing machinery with a 6% reduction in cycle time.
  ·         A step on the road to 100% bio-composites.

It is more expensive than P/E copolymer but currently perceived as the best compromise between quality and weight.  It is now used in the Peugeot 308.  3000 tonnes are produced in the EU and a further 10000 tpa planned for  Asia.
Faurecia is also developing its own 100% bio-based polymer “Biomat”,  for non-visible auto parts.  Biomat is 100% poly-butylsuccinate made from tapioca starch using monomer technology from BioAmber and polycondensation technology from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

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