Southfield, Michigan – A plant-derived resin radiator end tank used on some 2009 Toyota Camry models has earned an environmental award for Toyota and its partners DENSO and DuPont Automotive.

The tank earned the Most Innovative Use of Plastics award in the Environment Category from the Society of Plastics Engineers.

“The eco-friendly radiator tank, which has a high per cent of renewable material, is one of the first to be used in a mechanical under-the-hood component exposed to a hot, chemically-aggressive environment,” said Doug Patton, senior vice-president of engineering at DENSO. “More importantly, this component and this award illustrate the benefits of close collaboration throughout the supply chain.”

The polymer, called DuPont Zytel RS nylon, is produced by a chemical reaction between petroleum, and organic compounds derived from the castor plant, along with additives such as glass fibre. About 40 per cent of the resin is comprised of the plant-based ingredients.

Due to its plant base, the new tank releases fewer CO2 emissions into the atmosphere during its life cycle than a conventional product, and also requires less petroleum to produce. Since engine components need to be extremely durable and heat-resistant, it was previously difficult to develop a resin with a high percentage of plant-derived ingredients.

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