Bio-based resins for automotive applications

Paul Boughton

Royal DSM NV (DSM) is introducing two bio-based performance materials for the automotive industry in response to customers' increasing demand for sustainable products. DSM is presenting the products and its vision on the Bio-Based Economy at the JEC Composites Show 2010 in Paris (France) and the SAE 2010 World Congress in Detroit (USA). The products are Palapreg ECO P55-01, a bio-based resin for automotive vehicle body parts, including exterior panels, and EcoPaXX, a bio-based, high-performance engineering plastic.
Palapreg ECO is composed of 55 per cent renewable resources, which DSM says makes it the composite resin material with the highest bio-based content available on the market today. Industry testing has proven that DSM has been able to achieve this high renewable content without making any sacrifice to product performance or production speeds.
EcoPaXX is a high-performance polyamide that combines the benefits of a high melting point (approximately 250 degrees C), low moisture absorption and excellent resistance to various chemicals, including road salt, for example. Approximately 70 per cent of the material is based on building blocks derived from castor oil, a renewable resource.
Nico Gerardu, a member of the DSM management board and the person responsible for the performance materials cluster, comments: "The limited availability and the environmental impact of fossil-based raw materials creates a clear need for new and sustainable raw materials. By combining its unique competences in life sciences and materials sciences, DSM is well placed to create these solutions. With these high-performance materials, we actively contribute to the automotive industry's efforts to meet tough sustainability targets."
Christophe Peyre of Mixt Composites Recyclables (MCR), a France-based developer of automotive applications, says: "We have tested Palapreg ECO on a range of automotive applications and it consistently matched conventional alternatives in terms of performance and functionality. Through its industry-leading bio-based content, we believe Palapreg ECO represents an excellent opportunity for the car industry to meet its sustainability targets and we look forward to working with DSM to help make these goals a reality."
Both Palapreg ECO P55-01 and EcoPaXX are currently involved in final approvals by several customers in the automotive industry, including MCR. Palapreg ECO P55-01 has already been used for the bodywork of a kart competing in Formula Zero, the world's first zero-emission motor racing championship, and has been approved by the Formula One Association (FIA).
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