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Issue 01/2018

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  • Bioplastics
  • Biobased
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  • Automotive
  • Thailand
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  • Germany
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Automotive Cost

Automotive Cost reduction, light-weighting and sustainability are three imperatives that the auto industry is continuously striving to achieve. All three together make a technology breakthrough! It is with these objectives in mind that Competitive Green Technologies (Leamington, Ontario, Canada), a leading North American OEM and a Tier 1 supplier worked collaboratively to deploy the ground-breaking technology of using bio-carbon (made from renewable resources) in the manufacture of biocomposites for replacing talc and glass filled polypropylene (PP) and polyamide composites. The bio-carbon technology creation has its origins at the University of Guelph’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre and two associates at Competitive Green Technologies. University of Guelph is credited with this patent pending innovation that is USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) certified 99 % biobased, i.e. made from renewable resources. By: Atul Bali, Chief Executive Officer Mike Tiessen, President Competitive Green Technologies Leamington, Ontario, Canada Usually light-weighting is a critical factor as it directly leads to increased fuel efficiency. However, in many cases, e.g. using the alternative technology with carbon fibre based composites, light-weighting comes with the penalty of higher cost. In the example shown here, the 17 % weight savings come without higher cost. On the contrary: Bio-carbon offers a solution by delivering light-weighting, cost reduction and performance parity. Another concern, e.g. when using natural fibre reinforced biocomposites, is odour management. Here bio-carbon offers an odourless solution. Although it is derived from plant matter, bio-carbon is odourless because in the manufacturing process the Volatile Organic Compounds (that are responsible in large part for the odour) removed from the compounds. Net weight – 989 grams: 40 % talc filled PP The bio-carbon is based on the patented invention of using a plant based material that has been subjected to torrefication (mild form of pyrolysis at temperatures typically between 200 °C and 320 °C) and carbonizing at suitable temperatures after a special, yet proprietary surface treatment. The result is a non-polar fibrous reinforcement filler that works well in imparting structural properties to the composite. It is unlike carbon black in that regard and can be let down in a very high percentage in the composite. Most importantly, because its density is less than half compared to traditional inorganic fillers used in the industry (magnesium silicate, chopped glass fibres etc), there is, when using bio-carbon biocomposites, a very significant weight reduction. An important fact is that this bio-carbon is made from so-called waste streams of agriculture processing industry. For example, coffee chaff (a waste product - the skin of the coffee bean that is normally discarded after roasting of the coffee bean) can be used as raw material. For the example of a head lamp housing application, molding processing parameters for biocarbon filled PP composites were similar to the incumbent materials, here talc-filled PP. There was no need for new design or mold modifications. The molded parts were in conformance to the dimensional stability requirements. Advantages of bio-carbon filled PP composites over talcfilled PP materials include better mechanical properties (higher tensile and impact strength) and a higher heat deflection temperature (HDT), LCA improvement, weight reduction (up to 25 %) and cost reduction of 5 %-10 %. Another unique benefit of this technology breakthrough is its global scalability. The reason is that over 10 different biomasses have been successfully characterized. For example, in Europe, biomass like coffee chaff (waste of the coffee roasting industry, see above), wheat-straw, miscanthus are ubiquitous agricultural biomass that are hitherto undervalued. These provide excellent raw materials for making bio-carbon. In many Asian countries, soy hull and rice husk are ubiquitous. These are normally discarded as waste and are under-valued waste streams. These are very sustainable feedstock for making bio-carbon. Similarly, in North America, coffee chaff, purpose grown feedstock like Miscanthus and switchgrass that were, hitherto, normally used as sources for biofuel, can derive a higher value at farm-gate when used for making bio-carbon, using the technology commercialized by Competitive Green Technologies. In all the above, it is worth noting that no food or forest resource is being used to make the bio-carbon. Only so-called waste or hitherto under-valued crops are being used. That is the huge advantage of this technology breakthrough. Example of car part (headlamp housing) using bio-carbon based biocomposite resin Net weight – 824 grams: 25 % bio-carbon PP 14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/18] Vol. 13

Automotive call for papers now open! Save the Date 04-05 Sep 2018 Cologne, Germany PHA (Poly-Hydroxy-Alkanoates or polyhydroxy fatty acids) is a family of biobased polyesters. As in many mammals, including humans, that hold energy reserves in the form of body fat there are also bacteria that hold intracellular reserves of polyhydroxy alkanoates. Here the micro-organisms store a particularly high level of energy reserves (up to 80% of their own body weight) for when their sources of nutrition become scarce. Examples for such Polyhydroxyalkanoates are PHB, PHV, PHBV, PHBH and many more. That’s why we speak about the PHA platform. This PHA-platform is made up of a large variety of bioplastics raw materials made from many different renewable resources. Depending on the type of PHA, they can be used for applications in films and rigid packaging, biomedical applications, automotive, consumer electronics, appliances, toys, glues, adhesives, paints, coatings, fibers for woven and non-woven and inks. So PHAs cover a broad range of properties and applications. That’s why bioplastics MAGAZINE and Jan Ravenstijn are now organizing the 1 st PHA-platform World Congress on 4-5 September 2018 in Cologne / Germany. This congress will address the progress, challenges and market opportunities for the formation of this new polymer platform in the world. Every step in the value chain will be addressed. Raw materials, polymer manufacturing, compounding, polymer processing, applications, opportunities and end-of-life options will be discussed by parties active in each of these areas. Progress in underlying technology challenges will also be addressed. Platinum Sponsor: Gold Sponsor: organized by Co-organized by Jan Ravenstijn bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/18] Vol. 13 15

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