Hiroshima, Japan – Mazda Motor Corporation has signed a collaborative research agreement with Hiroshima University to launch the Mazda Bioplastic Product. The project is intended to develop a bioplastic from non-food-based cellulosic biomass and have it ready for use in vehicles by 2013.
The bioplastic will not consume food resources and will be derived from inedible vegetation, such as plant waste and wood shavings. It will also reduce reliance on limited fossil fuel resources and alleviate carbon dioxide emissions.
The project will focus on designing a production process for an extremely versatile polypropylene, appropriate for extensive use in vehicles, by first converting cellulosic biomass to ethanol and then investigating various mixtures of ethylene and propylene. It must have sufficient heat resistance, strength and durability to be used in vehicle bumpers and instrument panels, and must have an optimized manufacturing process so that it is eco-friendly and cost-effective.
Mazda’s previous biomass technology research resulted in the world’s first high-heat-resistant, high-strength bioplastic and the world’s first 100 per cent plant-derived fabric for use in car seats. These are used in the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid, which is scheduled to start commercial leasing in Japan in fiscal year 2008.