Japanese auto giant Mazda has signed an agreement with Hiroshima University to develop a bioplastic from non-food-based cellulosic biomass that it plans to use in vehicles by 2013.
The so-called ‘Mazda Bioplastic Project’ aims to develop a bioplastic that will not consume food resources due to the fact that it will be made from cellulosic biomass produced from inedible vegetation such as plant waste and wood shavings.
The project will also focus on developing a production process for the bioplastic, ensuring that it has sufficient heat resistance, strength and durability to be used in vehicle bumpers and instrument panels.
Mazda’s previous research on biomass technology resulted in the world’s first high heat-resistant, high-strength bioplastic and the world’s first 100 per cent plant-derived fabric for use in car seats.
These two biomaterials are used in the interior of the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid. Powered by Mazda’s hydrogen rotary engine mated to a hybrid system, the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid is scheduled to start commercial leasing in Japan in 2008.
Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) will also participate in the bioplastic project as part of an agreement to collaborate on biomass research with Hiroshima University.