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02 | 2008

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Automotive Cereplast’s

Automotive Cereplast’s Biopropylene and its application in automobiles Article contributed by Frederic Scheer President and CEO Cereplast Inc. Hawthorne, California, USA Biopropylene: Application examples The automotive industry has been on the cutting edge of many technological breakthroughs. Today’s vehicles integrate state-ofthe-art entertainment systems, convenience features like rainsensing windshield wipers and proximity keys, and safety advancements that can help drivers avoid accidents. And many automakers are applying their engineering sophistication to advanced powertrain options that may lead to a more sustainable form of transportation in the future. But environmentally friendly powertrains are only one part of the sustainability equation in building vehicles of the future. To truly reduce the environmental footprint of automobiles, automakers must also consider both the manufacturing process and the raw materials they select to build their products. Consider that a typical automobile uses about 114 kg of plastic , which requires petroleum as a building block and significant energy to mold. Automakers must use virgin plastic because the cost of recycled material is simply too high. Suddenly the hybrids on the road today and tomorrow’s hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles only offer an incremental improvement in sustainability. But new bioplastic alternatives are bringing the vision of a truly sustainable automobile closer to reality. Developing vehicles that replace traditional petroleum-based plastic parts with bioplastics is an exciting new area of development in the auto industry and many others. Cereplast Inc., a Hawthorne, Calif.-based maker of proprietary, bio-based, renewable plastics which are used as substitutes for petroleum-based plastics, recently announced a new plastic resin product that may be the next step in automotive sustainability. Cereplast’s “Hybrid Resins,” also commercialized as Biopolyolefins, offer properties of traditional petroleum-based plastics but require only half the oil content. The result is a cost-competitive bioplastic that can be processed on traditional converting equipment with significantly less energy consumption. Biopolyolefins replace a large portion of the petroleum content in traditional plastic products with biobased materials to answer the growing demand for sustainability in industries that also demand the structural integrity and durability of traditional plastics. In October 2007, Cereplast introduced the first product from this family, Biopropylene, a 50 percent bio-based thermoplastic resin containing starch, polypropylene, plasticizers, and compatibilizer that can replace traditional polypropylene in many durable applications, including automobiles. 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/08] Vol. 3

Automotive The potential size of the market opportunity for Biopropylene is quite large and could have a serious impact on the carbon dioxide offset of automobile companies. The automotive industry is a large user of polypropylene. Traditional components include interior panels, air conditioning equipment, etc. A reduction in both fossil fuels feedstock and processing temperature for these items could allow automakers to claim some CO 2 offsets for their industrial activities. Currently, automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën is exploring Biopropylene in the development of sustainable automobiles. The car has an influence on the environment at each stage in its life cycle. In its approach to eco-design, the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group aims to take environmental requirements into account at each phase in the vehicle life cycle, by limiting the resources necessary to production, through the responsible management of industrial sites, and by limiting the impacts of vehicle use and end of life. Consumers today are first concerned with the reduction of CO2 emissions, second the consumption and the price of fuel and third the design and materials used. PSA Peugeot Citroën is developing automobiles using sustainable materials as this has recently become more important the European auto market. Sandrine Raphanaud manager of the MAATEO project said, “Biopropylene is a very interesting and promising material that could assist PSA in reducing the carbon footprint of our automobiles.” Biopropylene is manufactured via twin-screw extrusion process and the physical properties shown in Table- 1 demonstrate the effectiveness of its use in automobile manufacturing. Biopropylene has higher tensile strength, modulus, and heat distortion temperature than homopolymer polypropylene (PP). Furthermore, it also has higher surface energy than PP. The contact angle of water, a polar solvent, on Biopropylene resin film is 85° whereas PP has a contact angle of 99°. The contact angle of a non-polar solvent, benzene, is 27° for Biopropylene and 37.8° for PP. The higher surface energy of Biopropylene renders it more amenable to painting with less surface treatment than PP, an important differentiator for automobile usage. Biopropylene should be processed at temperatures below 200°C, thus requiring significant less energy consumption than PP processing, where temperatures in excess of 200°C are typically used. In summary, Biopropylene, with a bio-based content of 50% or more, offers a balance of properties and performance that makes it very attractive in various applications in the automobile industry demanding an improved environmental footprint. Biopropylene reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, namely, petroleum and offers much more stable pricing fluctuations than petroleum based products. This target market explains the strategic location of Cereplast’s new manufacturing facility in Indiana which will reach half billion pounds by year 2010. Indiana is a state well known for its automotive activity and is about 4 hours from Detroit, Michigan. www.cereplast.com New facility in Indiana Physical Property ASTM Method Units Bio-PP* Homo PP Tensile Strength @ break D 638 MPa 16.61 11,37 Elongation @ break D 638 % 9.5 130.1 Young‘s Modulus D 638 MPa 2,063 824 Flexural Modulus D 790 MPa 965 701 Notched Izod Impact D 256 lb-ft/in 0.57 1.81 HDT @ 264 psi (1.82 MPa) D 648 °C 60 54.4 MFI 190°C @ 2.16 Kg D 1238 g/10 min 3-6 3 Density Calculated g/cm³ 1.04 0.9 *BioPP is compared to the same PP homopolymer used in its composition Table 1: Physical Properties of Biopropylene vs Polypropylene (values recalculated) End of last year Cereplast won the inaugural AUTOPLAST SPEICON award for the Highest Contribution in Plastic Material Development Used in the Auto Industry. The award was presented by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) at AUTOPLAST 2007 in Mumbai, India. It recognizes outstanding achievements in the development of new plastics technology for automotive applications. Cereplast earned the honor for its recently launched Biopropylene product from the Cereplast Hybrid Resins family. bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/08] Vol. 3 11

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