Toyoda Gosei develops CNF reinforced plastic for auto parts

KIYOSU, Japan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Toyoda Gosei Co.,Ltd. (TOKYO: 7282) developed* a plastic reinforced with cellulose nanofibers (CNF) with the aim of reducing CO2 throughout the life cycle of automotive components, from raw material sourcing and production to recycling and disposal.

Moving towards decarbonization and a circular economy, Toyoda Gosei develops materials that increase the environmental performance of its products by taking advantage of the following characteristics of CNF. First, CNF is one-fifth the weight and five times the strength of steel. When used as a reinforcement material in plastic or rubber, the product can be made thinner and foam molding becomes easier. This reduces weight and helps reduce CO2 emissions while driving the vehicle. Second, when the material is reused after vehicles are scrapped, little strength is lost through heating and melting, making recycling into automotive components possible. Third, it is a material that does not increase the total amount of CO2. Even when CNFs are incinerated, the only CO2 emitted is that which has been absorbed by the plant during its growth.

CNF’s new Reinforced Plastic combines 20% CNF in a general-purpose plastic (polypropylene) used in automotive interior and exterior components. For practical application, the reduction in impact strength due to the inclusion of CNF was initially a problem. Toyoda Gosei overcame this with its material blending design and kneading expertise to increase impact resistance to a level suitable for automotive components. The company will continue to reduce costs in cooperation with CNF material manufacturers.

*Part of the Ministry of Environment’s Nanocellulose Promotion Project, which promotes efforts for the early social implementation of CNF reinforced plastics that form the basis of various products, with the aim of reducing CO2.

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