Huntsman Advanced Materials has developed bio-sourced composite materials that have been used in the latest version of the BioMobile; a prototype vehicle designed to achieve minimal reliance on the use of fossil fuel resources in its design and construction, while offering very low energy consumption in use.
The BioMobile.ch project was founded in 2004 to look at ideas for promoting sustainable mobility, focusing on ‘individual mobility’ at a project level in an attempt to lower fossil energy consumption.
Since its inception, the vehicle has gone through three development stages and the latest adaptation sees the replacement of the remaining non-renewable structural components with renewable materials.
The body, chassis and most of the structural parts of the BioMobile are now made entirely from various vegetable fibre reinforcements impregnated with a specially developed epoxy system from Huntsman Advanced Materials which contains over 50 per cent bio-based resin.
Commenting on the selection of Huntsman’s bio-based resin system, Michel Perraudin, Project Manager for BioMobile.ch said: “The successful integration of a blend of renewable vegetable fibre and bio-based resin represents a significant factor in increasing the performance and uniqueness of the BioMobile.
Huntsman’s bio-based resin system proved particularly advantageous with its easy handling and processing capabilities. In helping to optimize the mechanical properties of the prototype, it also played an important role in enabling us to demonstrate that individual mobility with a lower energy signature is possible within both manufacturing and vehicle usage.”
The BioMobile’s fuel consumption rate is approximately 0.12 litres per 100km and it now runs on X41, a biofuel made from organic waste.
Originally developed as an energy-efficient vehicle for international competitions such as the Shell Eco-marathon, which challenges teams to go the furthest they can using the least amount of energy, the BioMobile has been updated over the years to integrate new bio-based fuels and renewable materials.
Developed within the Haute Ecole du Paysage, d’Ingénièrie et d’Architecture de Genève, which is part of the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, the prototype’s development has involved the participation of a number of young people from schools in Switzerland and France as well as several European industrial partners.
Recent research undertaken by Huntsman Advanced Materials indicates that it is now commercially possible to produce resin systems for industrial applications with a bio-based content that is higher than 80 per cent - when combining up to 100 per cent bio-based resins and up to 80% bio-based hardeners.