Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), working with EIDAIKAKO Co., Ltd., MRC Pylen Co., Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, has developed a new floor mat made using plant-based bio-polyethylene (bio-PE) fiber to add to its lineup of proprietary plant-based “Green Plastic” products. The company plans to start production of the new floor mats in the summer of 2012.
Bio-PE is a plant-based resin made using sugarcane molasses (a thick syrup produced in the refining of raw sugar). The company has developed the bio-PE fiber for use in floor mat piling to reduce usage of petroleum-based plastics and cut CO2 emissions. As opposed to conventional petroleum-based floormats, the fiber in this new floormat has a core-sheath structure in which the bio-PE core is covered with conventional petroleum-based polypropylene (PP) sheath which allows it to meet the high levels of performance demanded of car floor mats, including abrasion and heat resistance.
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In-house calculations indicate that the new bio-PE fiber floor mat achieves a 15% reduction in life-cycle CO2 emissions over a similar mat made using petroleum-based PP fiber.
MMC is conducting research and development of a series of proprietary plant-based “Green Plastics” to replace petroleum-based plastics used widely in car parts today. The company’s current range of plant-based Green Plastics products includes materials made using liquefied wood-based phenolic resins and interior surface materials which combine PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and cotton fibers. MMC says it will continue to push forward the development and the commercial application of these and other Green Plastics.