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New bio-based materials for a sustainable economy

News International-French

21 Feb 2011

DSM introduced two bio-based performance materials for the automotive industry in response to the increasing customer demand for sustainable products. This marks an important step in the company’s goal of creating a portfolio of bio-based performance materials.

DSM presented two new biobased materials and its vision of the bio-based economy both at the JEC Composites Show 2010 in Paris (France) and at the SAE 2010 World Congress in Detroit (United States).


The products were Palapreg® ECO P55-01, a bio-based resin for automotive vehicle body parts including exterior panels, and EcoPaXX™, a bio-based, highperformance engineering plastic.


Green and performance

Palapreg® ECO is composed of 55% renewable resources, making it the composite resin material with the highest bio-based content available on the market today. Industry testing has proven that this high renewable content has been achieved without sacrificing product performance or production speeds.


EcoPaXX™ is a high-performance polyamide that combines the benefits of a high melting point (approx. 250°C), low moisture absorption and excellent resistance to various chemical substances, including road salt for instance. Approximately 70% of the material is based on building blocks derived from castor oil, a renewable resource.


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. For this purpose the material had to comply with all FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) guidelines on strength and safety. On the track, meanwhile, the racing kart will of course benefit from increased speed brought on by the body’s lighter frame.


A breakthrough solution:
Alternatives to petroleum-based plastics are urgently needed as fossil fuel supplies dwindle and become more expensive, while both consumers and regulators are calling for materials with lower environmental impact. The plant-based renewable resources used to replace petroleum-based components in raw materials foster the expansion of environmentally responsible materials.


Vision and market


Nico Geradu, member of the DSM Managing Board and responsible for the Performance Materials cluster, commented: “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 skills in life sciences and materials sciences, DSM is well placed to provide these solutions. With these high-performance materials, we actively contribute to the automotive industry’s efforts to meet tough sustainability targets.”


In 2009, DSM derived 7% of its total net sales from the automotive and transport sectors. DSM Engineering Plastics and DSM Composite Resins – both part of the Performance Materials cluster – offer the automotive industry various solutions to reduce weight and improve performance and fuel efficiency.


DSM is committed to developing its portfolio of high-performance, sustainable materials as part of a wider commitment to being an important player in the development of a global bio-based economy.




JEC Composites Magazine: Everyone is going green these days. Is it a passing fad or a long-standing trend?

DR. MICHAEL EFFING: This will definitely be a long-standing trend which will, in fact, probably even go beyond Green. In the longer term, it will be all about sustainable value creation, looking at the total impact on the environment, people and society. From a material viewpoint, this means higher performance of “green” composites, combined with lower ecoimpact like lower fuel consumption, low maintenance and long lifespans.


Carbon footprints, life cycle assessments (LCA), new tools and measurement, together with total system approaches will therefore be critical parameters for sustainability.


JCM: Do you plan to make your entire product line “green” or are you focusing on growth sectors?

DR. M. E: Our vision is to offer products and solutions that have the lowest eco footprint over the value chain, ranging from current products to the newly developed products and processes. DSM has chosen LCA as the key to monitoring sustainability. Not only do we expect growth in new markets and applications, but we are also thinking of partially replacing some current applications and materials. We have started with the automotive industry, but we also see opportunities beyond this segment, in building & infrastructure or marine applications for example.


JCM: Do you think you’ll pass the 55% mark in renewable resources that you recently announced?

DR. M. E: Yes, we have the technology available to reach 100% renewablebased resins and we see ourselves as the leader in the global composite market.


JCM: What kind of results are you expecting from these two new products?

DR. M. E: The combined products of DSM Engineering Plastics (ExoPAXX TM) and DSM Composite Resins (Palapreg ECO P55-01) give us a solid portfolio providing full system solutions for our automotive customers. We expect similar-to-better performance based on the renewable technology. DSM Composite Resins sees Palapreg ECO as the first step in building up a broad sustainable product portfolio. Depending on the market feedback, our next product developments could include higher bio-contents, or they could also be low-smell/low-VOC products, or even a development that contributes to low weight, which is the highest priority driver in the automotive industry to reduce emissions.


JCM: Where do you draw the line between environmental friendliness and performance?

DR. M. E: Our number 1 priority will be performance. We definitely will not compromise on performance in any way as this will eventually be the key differentiating factor. The combination of better performance and environmental friendliness will be the winning formula.


JCM: Generally speaking, how do you intend to meet environmental requirements and do you think your strategy is feasible?

DR. M. E: Sustainability and innovation are DSM Composite Resins’ main strategic targets, focusing first and foremost on today’s and tomorrow’s environmental and performance requirements defined by the market. This includes using the right metrics and tools across the different functions and processes within our business e.g. from manufacturing processes to customer service, and from purchasing to marketing & communications.


Yes, our strategy is feasible as it stands out as the only strategy from both a business perspective and a longer-term perspective when taking into account the environmental, population and societal issues.