Magna International Inc., a leading global automotive supplier, and bio-on, an Italian intellectual property company, signed a cooperation agreement to start exclusive R&D activities on the use of bio-plastics for the automotive industry.
bio-on has developed a new kind of bio plastic created through the use of naturally occurring bacteria which feed off sugar beet by-products. In the process of fermentation, the material is turned into plastic (polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA). The result is fully biodegradable in water and soil, resulting in an environmentally friendly product that does not rely on food as a natural resource and could provide alternatives to conventional plastics for the automotive industry.
Magna, through its Interiors operating unit, is pairing its automotive know-how with bio-on’s chemical expertise to research how production of this natural polyester product can be elevated to an industrial, cost-effective scale. Additionally, the two companies will test and evaluate how bio-on bio plastics will perform in different standard industry processes such as thermoforming. Magna Interiors will utilize its facility in Liberec, Czech Republic, for joint testing.
The bio plastic product by bio-on has high thermal and mechanical resistance and can be worked using standard production technologies used for conventional plastics. The biodegradability of bio-on bio-plastic was certified in 2008 by Vinçotte.