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The European Project NATURTRUCK develops biocomposites for the internal parts of trucks

News International-French

22 May 2014

The Technological Institute of Plastics (AIMPLAS) has started a research to develop a new material from renewable sources for the automobile sector.

Concretely, it is a biodegradable plastic to manufacture the internal cabin of Renault trucks. Two more technological centres, CTAG (Spain), IWNiRZ (Poland), six SMEs, Químicas del Vinalopó S.L. (Spain), Bulma Tecnología S.L (Spain), BAVE (Germany), RE8 (Sweden), POLYCOM (Slovenia) and PLASCAM (Turkey) as well as VOLVO (France) participate in this development within the European project NATURTRUCK.

The 32-month project has also the collaboration of TOTAL, which has been providing the European consortium with the biodegradable material (PLA) from its division of bioplastics. The aim is to design materials and industrial productive processes which allow substituting the accessories of the vehicle’s console, nowadays manufactured with pieces of ABS injected by other similar pieces manufactured with raw materials from renewable sources.  In addition, at the end of its lifetime, they will become into fertilizer or compost as the rest of the organic wastes, instead of being disposed in landfill. All of this at a competitive price compared with the traditional materials.

The automotive industry invests its efforts in renewable sources

The presence of bioplastics in the automotive sector is very limited, although it is a trend for which this industry is more and more investing its efforts. Nowadays, the incorporation of materials from renewable sources in vehicles is reduced to some interior panels, in which reinforcements like glass fiber has been replaced by other reinforcements, such as natural fibers, and its weight has been reduced. In the case of NATURTRUCK project, the aim is much more ambitious, since it is expected to substitute the majority of the materials usually used in the selected pieces by other ones from renewable sources (more than 80% of them).

According to Miguel Ángel Valera, main researcher of the project in AIMPLAS, “the injected pieces will be submitted to a thermal treatment which will allow improving the physic-mechanical properties of the material in order to be used in applications so demanding such as the equipment of commercial vehicles interior”.