Having conducted research into bioplastics derived from 100% natural materials since its 2006 BioMat project, Faurecia has now signed an industrial partnership agreement with Mitsubishi Chemical to co-develop bioplastics designed for mass-production for use in automotive interiors.
Faurecia plans to develop a full range of bioplastics, which it believes are set to boom in the 2015 to 2020 period.
Essentially, the objective of the Faurecia-Mitsubishi link up is to develop a polymer that can be used in mass-production for automotive interior parts and composites.
The joint development will start by modifying Mitsubishi Chemical’s patented biomass-derived poly-butylene succinate (PBS) with the eventual target of it being produced from 100% bio sources.
BioAmber will be the supplier of bio-based succinic acid to the partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, Faurecia will hold exclusive rights to automotive applications of the specific polymers jointly developed under this project. This project builds on several years of development work carried out jointly with BioAmber, a leading specialist in bio-based succinic acid technology.
The environmental constraints associated with vehicle weight reduction and the regulations intended to increase the recyclability of materials used in the automotive industry – 85% in Europe by 2015 – call for increased use of new materials derived from natural resources, which will ultimately replace petroleum-based plastics. This initiative also aims to ensure that the materials used have a positive impact on the product lifecycle (from initial extraction through to end-of-life).