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Automotive (Photo: Mytho88 / Wikimedia) Ecological Plastic for Toyota’s Sai Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) continues to develop various advanced environmental technologies aimed at producing vehicles for a society where people live in harmony with the earth, or ‘Sustainable mobility’. Another key environmentally-friendly technology incorporated in the Sai hybrid sedan in 2009 was a newly developed Ecological plastic 1 to achieve exhaustive environmental performance. It is used for approximately 60% of the total interior area. Though the Sai uses more environmentally friendly plastic than any other vehicle in the world, TMC believes that it is important to increase the availability of such technologies in the marketplace and that the ecological plastics can have a positive impact on the environment only if they are widely used for mass production cars like the Sai. Because plants play a role in either type, ecological plastic emits approximately 30% less CO 2 during the product life cycle (from manufacture to disposal) than plastic made solely from petroleum; it also helps reduce petroleum use. Table1 shows the ecological plastic in the Sai. This ecological plastic adequately meets the heat-resistance and shock-resistance demands of vehicle interiors through the use of various compounding technologies, such as those allowing molecular-level bonding and homogeneous mixing of plant-derived and petroleum-derived raw materials. And being equal to conventional plastics in terms of quality and productivity means that it can be used in production vehicles. TMC became the first automaker in the world to use ecological plastic for the spare tyre cover in interior parts when it launched the Japanese market ‘Raum’ model in 2003 (see bM 01/2007). It was also adopted for upholstery material such as roof head lining and pillar cladding for the first time in the world in the Sai. TMC intends to pursue research and development and practical applications that result in the expanded use of ecological plastic in vehicle parts. MT 1 Ecological Plastic: The collective name of plastics developed by TMC for automobiles and that use plant-derived material and are more heat- and shock-resistant, etc., than conventional bio-plastics. Table 1. Materials used in the Sai Material kinds Where used Blended raw materials Plant-derived Petroleum-derived Blending method Injection molding material Scuff plates, cowl side trims, finish plate, tool box Polylactic acid (PLA) Polypropylene (PP) Finely dispersed PLA within PP Upholsterymaterial (Knits) Roof head lining, sun visors, front pillars, center pillars, roof side garnishes Plant derived polyester Polyethylene terephthalate(PET) Blend fiber (Photo: Tennen Gas / Wikimedia) Upholsterymaterial (Nonwovens) Base material Form material Luggage door trims, luggage side trims Door trims Seat cushion Polylactic acid (PLA) Polylactic acid(PLA) and Kenaf fiber Polyol derived from castor oil Polyethylene terephthalate(PET) (Not used) Polyol, isocyanate, etc. Blending PLA fiber and PET fiber Bond the kenaf fiber with PLA Molecular level blend 18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6

Automotive (Photos: Toyota / Lexus) Welcome to the Darker Side of Green Hybrids don’t always have to be about flowery, sunshine-filled days in the park, says the Lexus CT200h website. However, sunshine is needed for the production of Toyota’s new Bio-PET. Last fall Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced plans to make vehicle liner material and other interior surfaces from a new ‘Ecological Plastic’ that features the world’s first use of bio- PET. Starting with the luggage-compartment liner in the Lexus CT200h scheduled to be introduced this spring, TMC plans to increase both the number of vehicle series featuring the new material, as well as the amount of vehicle-interior area covered by it, and intends to introduce a vehicle model in 2011 in which Ecological Plastic will cover 80 percent of the vehicle interior. The epoch-making bio-PET-based Ecological Plastic — developed with Toyota Tsusho Corporation — is characterized by: enhanced performance, such as heat-resistance, durability performance or shrink resistance compared to conventional bio-plastics and performance parity with petroleum-based PET. Secondly bio-PET shall offer the potential to approach the cost-per-part performance of petroleum-based plastics through volume production. And last but not least the it shall be used in seats and carpeting and other interior components that require a high level of performance unattainable by hitherto Ecological Plastic.MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6 19

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