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Automotive Automotive Bioplastics Design Challenge Article contributed by Markus Götz Biopolymers/Biomaterials Cluster Executive cluster manager BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH Stuttgart, Germany Nylon-5,10 - Ventilation nozzle for car interiors (Photo: BIOPRO/Bächtle) away from petrol and towards renewable resources” – this sentence might sound simple, “Turning but its implementation is not nearly so simple. Biomass does not benefit from the same level of subsidies for material use as it does for energetic use nor is its material use backed by legal regulations (e.g. biofuel quota act). In certain market segments, biomass for material use also faces huge obstacles when it comes to entering the market. This is a particular issue in the field of bio-based plastics, which only become marketable when their characteristics are at least equal to those of their petrochemical counterparts. ‘Bioplastics Design Challenge’ A number of bio-based plastics with the required properties are already available on the market. However, the end-user sectors are still very cautious as far as the application of bio-based materials is concerned since the switch from fossil fuel-based production to biomass-based production requires numerous changes to be put in place. In addition, the adaptation to new processes is also associated with high costs. However, predicted future developments make it necessary to focus on the shift from fossil to biological resources – not just because of the finiteness of fossil resources. However, it is not enough just to focus on research into the biotechnological implementation of biomass into plastics components (monomers) and demonstrate its feasibility. A lot more than this is required. In order to support bioplastics on their rocky road to marketability, the German Biopolymers/Biomaterials cluster has initiated the ‘Bioplastics Design Challenge’ on behalf of BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of the government of the German Federal State of Baden- Württemberg. To facilitate the market introduction of biobased materials, the ‘Bioplastics Design Challenge’ aims to increase the plastics manufacturing industry and the end user sectors’ awareness of sustainability as well as to strengthen innovation dynamics. Joint challenges to enable change The ‘Bioplastics Design Challenge’ is not a competition in the traditional sense, but is conceived as a joint challenge whose goal is to facilitate the shift of plastics production from fossil fuel-based materials to bio-based materials. The challenge targets developers, designers, bioplastics manufacturers and processors as well as all other interested parties. Through the interaction of many actors along the value creation chain, it will be possible to thoroughly test the materials at a very early stage and facilitate their early technical implementation. The ‘Bioplastics Design Challenge’ will present numerous different biomaterials to interested users and subsequently test them, taking into 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6

Automotive account important aspects such as processability, surface properties and ageing resistance, aspects that are not frequently the targets of initial research, but which have a crucial influence on the products’ marketability and market potential. In return, the user sector will provide the bioplastics producers with valuable information about the products’ expected market acceptance as well as feedback about the biomaterials’ unexplored optimisation potentials. An annual ‘Theme Day’ will be held to promote wider public awareness of bio-based materials and to illustrate the future application of biomaterials in the individual application sectors. The automotive sector in the ‘Bioplastics Design Challenge’ The ‘Automotive Bioplastics Design Challenge – abdc’ initiated in summer 2010 represents the first of several ‘Bioplastics Design Challenges’. The one-year cooperation will evaluate and further develop design aspects of commercially available biomaterials and biomaterials under development with regard to their suitability for automotive sector applications. Users will be able to select materials from a broad range of bioplastics and biomaterials for component parts on the basis of technical and designrelated decision criteria. Design samples and prototypes will then be produced and the material will be evaluated in terms of subsequent requirements with regard to the production of serial products. The registration to ‘abdc’ is still possible. Well over 100 individuals have already registered for the ‘Automotive Bioplastics Design Challenge’, including bioplastics manufacturers, automobile manufacturers, their suppliers, engineering and design offices with an interest in the automotive sector as well as design students. A webbased partnering platform and partnering workshops will support the establishment of project partnerships and the collaboration between the participants. The platform offers a comprehensive and clear overview of profiles, offers and requests of all the actors involved, thereby enabling the interactive development and implementation of project ideas. In addition, the participants are able to provide platform users with information on project ideas and experiences (with regard to processability, technical suitability, design aspects, etc.). The results of the ‘Automotive Bioplastics Design Challenge’ will be presented at the upcoming ‘Bioplastics in the automotive sector of the future’ theme day. ‘Bioplastics for automotive engineering of the future’ theme day The theme day will be held on June 10, 2011 in Stuttgart, Germany. The public exhibition is part of ‘Automobile Summer 2011’, an event organised by the Baden-Württemberg government to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the automobile. The exhibition will give visitors an overview of biobased materials used in the serial production of cars as well as an outline of the history of bio-based car components. The presentation of state-of-the-art bioplastics that are close to entering serial production or that are currently in development will be the highlight of the day. If anyone owns such novel biomaterials or prototypes or has access to historical or currently used bio-based car parts, the organizers would be delighted if these could be made available for exhibition on June 10, 2011. Providing exhibits is not connected to participation in ‘abdc’. The submission deadline for contributions will be April 6, 2011. This article is an excerpt from a more comprehensive article in Biowerkstoff Report March 2011, published by nova-Institut, Germany Motor engine cooling fan and housing module made from Nylon-5,10 (Photo: BIOPRO/Kindervater) Nylon-5,10 - gas pedal (Product: Robert Bosch GmbH, Photo: Philipp Thielen) bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6 17

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