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Advanced BIObased polyurethanes and fibres for the autoMOTIVE industry with increased environmental sustainability

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BIOMOTIVE (Advanced BIObased polyurethanes and fibres for the autoMOTIVE industry with increased environmental sustainability)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

Biomotive is paving the way for the production and subsequent market penetration of bio-based automotive interior parts with enhanced technical performance, improved environmental profile and economic competitiveness, with the aim of replacing its fossil-based, non-biodegradable counterparts. The bio-based plastics which are currently used in the automotive industry are mainly derived from vegetable oils like soybean oil and castor oil. These pose serious environmental concern in terms of competition with the food and feed chains. The goal of the Biomotive project is to use monomers and polymers with sustainable, second-generation feedstock. It will also improve the mechanical and functional properties of developed bio-based solutions to compete with the products currently available in the market. Biobased polyurethanes have the potential to kickstart a new era in the application of biobased materials into the automotive sector, improving performance, cost, competitiveness and environmental sustainability – all paving the way towards mass use in the production of vehicles. From a scientific and technological perspective, Biomotive project intends to demonstrate the production of bio-based raw materials and building blocks for the subsequent application in the formulation of bio-based polyesters-polyols and bio-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and the production of novel cellulose based regenerated fibres from paper pulp. From a final application perspective, Biomotive aims to validate, on an industrial scale, the bio-based polymers in producing the interior of cars, such as the foams for production of bio-based seats and the regenerated fibre for producing bio-based textile seat covers.
Within the Biomotive project, several renewable, competitive, and sustainable feedstocks will be used for the production of bio-based monomers, building blocks and polymers. The first raw material is represented by wood pulp, and the second raw material by vegetable oils obtained by oil crops grown in marginal lands. These are not in competition with food and feed value chains (such as, but not limited to, cardoon seeds). Sugars from by-products of first and second-generation sugar feedstocks represent the third. The project will be completed in May 2021.
A year before its end, Biomotive Consortium is still increasing its list of achievements, including such as:
• Thermoplastic polyurethane granulate having 67% bio-carbon content (it has been prepared on optimised bio-raw materials.)
• The first car part injections using this TPU have been done and injection process is being optimised.
• Wood pulp sustainable production process has been optimised.
• 57% bio-carbon containing 2k polyurethane foam has been made in real car seat production moulds (these foams have been integrated with Biomotive biotextiles as reinforcement allowing > 60% overall bio-carbon content in this part.)
Currently, performance optimisations of both materials (TPU and 2k foams) are underway as well as processability studies. The initial experimental data has been fed into preliminary life cycle analysis (LCA). The results of this preliminary study revealed that the project assumptions can be fulfilled. It is important because the Biomotive project aims to reduce primary energy consumption. The project is complex – it also covers the techno-economic assessment, the standardisation and certification for new products or intellectual property studies. As a result of the project, the Biomotive Consortium will be able to demonstrate the production of bio-based raw materials required for the final products (the demo production of azelaic acid, biobased 1,4-BDO, FDCA, regenerated cellulose fibres, TPU and 2k foams.) This is important for the automotive industry. The Biomotive project is dedicated to the automotive industry, but the involvement of external industrial players through targeted dissemination events will pave the way to the widening of the market of developed bio-materials: regenerated fibres from paper-grade wood pulp into textile production, biobased TPUs in nature based solutions within the construction sector or 2k foams dedicated into the vertical gardens solutions.
BIOMOTIVE expects the project will deliver the following impacts:
• Demonstrate the improved mechanical and functional properties of the developed products against the products already available in the market.
• A total reduction in GHG emissions of up to 58% for the final products through formulating bio-based PUs and foams with bio-based monomers with improved environmental profile
• Potential creation of approx. 400 new jobs in the biobased sector.
biobased products - planned result of the Biomotive project