Royal DSM will start a strategic partnership with Neste to enable the production of high performance polymers made from sustainable feedstock. This enables DSM and its customers to reduce the carbon footprint of their own products while supporting the industry to transition to a circular economy. In the new strategic... Read more →


Global automotive Tier 1 manufacturer Motherson Group is collaborating with Israeli cleantech company UBQ Materials. The companies are joining efforts to implement the carbon-negative UBQ thermoplastic (earlier post) into auto parts manufactured by Motherson Group for the automotive industry. UBQ is a patented material converted from 100% unsorted household waste,... Read more →


A large number of components in automobiles are made from plastics; these have to meet exacting safety, heat-resistance and quality requirements. That is why, so far, only petroleum-based materials have been suitable for manufacturing plastic components in automobiles that are subjected to particularly intensive wear. Such materials are not recyclable... Read more →


Gruppo Maip, Eastman partner on sustainable polymer automotive materials; bio-based and recycled

Eastman and Gruppo Maip, a leading international plastics formulator and compound producer based in Turin, Italy, will partner to formulate new sustainable polymer solutions for automotive interior applications. This will enable an exclusive portfolio of formulations based on Eastman’s Advanced Circular Recycling technology, offering a range of both bio-based and... Read more →


Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel and a forerunner as a provider of renewable and circular solutions for the petrochemical industry, and LG Chem, South Korea’s largest diversified petrochemicals company and a world’s leading manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for energy solutions, aim to build... Read more →


Neste, Recycling Technologies and Unilever combine expertise to test and validate systems to recycle waste plastics chemically

Recycling Technologies, a specialist plastic recycling technology provider; Neste, the leading provider of renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, and a forerunner in drop-in renewable and circular chemical solutions; and Unilever, the consumer goods manufacturer, will collaborate to develop further and to harness chemical recycling to recover and to reuse plastic... Read more →


DOE to award more than $27M to 12 plastics recycling R&D projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $27 million in funding for 12 projects that will support the development of advanced plastics recycling technologies and new plastics that are recyclable-by-design. As part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, these projects will also help improve existing recycling processes that break... Read more →


Nuvera Fuel Cells, a US-based manufacturer of heavy-duty fuel cell systems, is now using BASF’s polyphthalamide (PPA) Ultramid Advanced N to manufacture several components in its latest generation of 45 kW fuel cell engines. The fuel cell engines will be integrated into transit buses and delivery vehicles in China over... Read more →


BASF SE is investing €16 million into Pyrum Innovations AG, a technology company specialized in the pyrolysis of waste tires, headquartered in Dillingen/Saar, Germany. With the investment, BASF will support the expansion of Pyrum’s pyrolysis plant in Dillingen and the further roll out of the technology. Pyrum is currently running... Read more →


Nissan reports developing a new process that speeds up the development of car parts made from carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). Lightweight yet extremely strong, the material can be used to make cars that are safer and more fuel efficient. It can also lower a car’s center of gravity when... Read more →


BASF and Toyota Motor North America Research & Development partnered on lightweighting with the new 2021 Toyota Sienna. The vehicle, scheduled to launch later this year, just won the prestigious Altair Enlighten Award for achievements in vehicle weight savings for reduced mass of the third row seat. In the previous... Read more →


Borealis, a supplier of polyolefin plastic materials for engineering applications in the automotive industry, announced the availability of Fibremod, its innovative carbon and glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene (PP) technology, for the North American automotive market. The Fibremod family of products enables automotive manufacturers to achieve weight-saving and process cost-saving targets. In... Read more →


BASF develops engineering plastic with optimized sliding friction properties; for automotive parts in contact with hot oil

BASF is launching an engineering plastic that is particularly suited for automotive parts that come into contact with hot oil. The new polyethersulfone (PESU) Ultrason E0510 C2TR shows very good tribological properties, high oil resistance and excellent dimensional stability also with broad ranges of temperature fluctuations. The injection-molding grade with... Read more →


DOE announces $25M for plastics recycling R&D, launches upcycling consortium

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $25 million in funding for plastics recycling research and development (R&D). The funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0002245) is part of the Department’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate innovations in plastics recycling technologies. The Advanced Manufacturing Office and Bioenergy Technologies... Read more →


BASF is launching the pilot platform reciChain in the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada, as a response to plastic waste. The scalable blockchain solution will support the track and trace and monetization of plastics within the value chain, through innovative Digital Badge and Loop Count technology. According to a... Read more →


BASF launches $10B Verbund project in China

BASF officially launched its smart Verbund project in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, China, and commenced building its first plants. It marks a milestone of the company’s US$10-billion investment project announced in July 2018. (Earlier post.) The first plants will produce engineering plastics and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to serve the increasing needs... Read more →


BASF launches $10B Verbund project in China

BASF officially launched its smart Verbund project in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, China, and commenced building its first plants. It marks a milestone of the company’s US$10-billion investment project announced in July 2018. (Earlier post.) The first plants will produce engineering plastics and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to serve the increasing needs... Read more →


Pierburg (Rheinmetall Automotive), Swoboda, BASF and General Motors (GM) have developed the first all-plastic fuel vapor pump assembly in series production. It is currently produced at Pierburg’s facility in Fountain Inn, South Carolina and placed on the 2019 Cadillac XT4. The assembly is mounted on the engine and directly transfers... Read more →


Researchers in the US have developed a catalytic upcycling process using platinum nanoparticles supported on perovskites to convert single-use polyethylene (PE) (such as grocery bags) into value-added high-quality liquid products (such as motor oils and waxes). An open-access paper on their work is published in ACS Central Science. Hundreds of... Read more →


Researchers have developed a new catalytic method for upcycling abundant, seemingly low-value plastics (polyethylene) into high-quality liquid products, such as motor oils, lubricants, detergents and even cosmetics. The discovery also improves on current recycling methods that result in cheap, low-quality plastic products. Northwestern University, Argonne National Laboratory and Ames Laboratory... Read more →


REMONDIS and Neste partner to develop chemical recycling of plastic waste; targeting >200 kilotons/year

Neste, the world’s leading provider of renewable diesel, renewable jet fuel, and an expert in delivering drop-in renewable chemical solutions, and REMONDIS, one of the world’s largest privately owned recycling, service and water companies, have signed an agreement to collaborate in the development of chemical recycling of plastic waste. The... Read more →


Borealis and Neste begin strategic co-operation for production of renewable polypropylene

Borealis, a leading provider of innovative polyolefin solutions; and Neste, the world’s leading provider of renewable diesel, renewable jet fuel, and an expert in delivering drop-in renewable chemical solutions, are entering into strategic co-operation for the production of renewable polypropylene (PP). The co-operation will enable Borealis to start using Neste’s... Read more →


In a joint project, BASF and STR Automotive have brought components for premium vehicles into series production for the first time using the new material Elastolit R 8819 Lightweight. In comparison to conventional processing with polyurethane reaction injection (PU-RRIM) materials, the new process provides significant weight reduction. The usual component... Read more →


Jaguar Land Rover is testing an innovative recycling process which converts plastic waste into a new premium grade material that could feature on future vehicles. The amount of waste plastic is predicted to exceed 12 million tonnes globally by 2050. Today, not all of this plastic can be recycled for... Read more →


Researchers at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in China report a two-step method for the synthesis of jet-fuel-range high-density polycycloalkanes from polycarbonate waste under mild conditions. An open-access paper on their work appears in the RSC journal Green Chemistry. Plastics are a family of organic polymers which are widely... Read more →


BASF to build engineering plastics and thermoplastic polyurethanes plants at new $10B Verbund site in Zhanjiang

BASF plans to build an engineering plastics compounding plant and a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) plant at the company’s proposed integrated chemical production (“Verbund”) site in Zhanjiang, China. These will be the first production plants to come onstream at the site. The Verbund site in Guangdong would be BASF’s largest investment,... Read more →


Researchers from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in China have selectively synthesized gasoline- and jet-fuel range C7-C8 cycloalkanes and aromatics by the methanolysis of poly(ethyleneterephthalate) (PET) waste, followed by the solvent-free hydrogenation and hydrodeoxygenation (HDO). The C7-C8 cycloalkanes and aromatics can be used as gasoline or additives to improve... Read more →


U of I team uses frontal polymerization for rapid energy-efficient manufacturing of polymers; saving 10 orders of magnitude of energy

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new polymer-curing process that could reduce the cost, time and energy needed, compared with the current manufacturing process. The findings, reported in Nature, state that the new polymerization process uses 10 orders of magnitude less energy and can cut two orders... Read more →


Teijin Limited has developed a formable gasoline-resistant film made of PLANEXT bioplastic to replace chrome plating, which Honda Lock Mfg. Co., Ltd. has now adopted for nonconductive door handles integrated with smart-entry systems. Teijin developed the innovative film using a special metal-evaporation technology from a processing-manufacturer partner. Teijin is currently... Read more →


Magna is using a torsional welding process for joining thermoplastic materials in order to help automakers cut weight and costs. The torsional welding process, developed by Magna for automotive applications at its exteriors plant in Liberec, Czech Republic, in collaboration with Telsonic Ultrasonics, features a high-speed twisting motion that creates... Read more →


Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, has partnered with Mahle GmbH to replace metal end caps with high-heat-resistant plastics in charge air cooler (CAC) applications. This change has led to improved engine performance, better fuel efficiency and reduced system costs. Metal end caps in... Read more →


A team of chemical and biological engineers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has developed a new chemical pathway a way to produce from biomass a valuable compound—1,5-pentanediol, a plastic precursor primarily used to make polyurethanes and polyester plastics—that they estimate could lower the cost of cellulosic ethanol by more than... Read more →


Researchers at Washington State University have developed a novel route for the production of jet fuel range alkanes at high carbon yields from plastics. The process combines catalytic microwave-assisted degradation of low-density polyethylene (a model compound of plastics waste) followed by hydrogenation. In a paper published in the journal Fuel,... Read more →


ExxonMobil & Georgia Tech CMS membrane brings advantages of reverse osmosis separations to hydrocarbon mixtures; potential significant cuts in chemical manufacturing energy use & emissions

Scientists from ExxonMobil and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed new free-standing carbon molecular sieve (CMS) membrane technology that could significantly reduce the amount of energy and emissions associated with manufacturing plastics. Results of the research were published in Science. Using a molecular-level filter, the new process employs a... Read more →


Ford, Jose Cuervo team up to make car parts with bioplastic reinforced with blue agave fibers

Ford Motor Company is teaming up with Jose Cuervo to explore the use of the tequila producer’s blue agave plant fiber byproduct to develop more sustainable bioplastics to employ in Ford vehicles. Ford and Jose Cuervo are testing the agave-fiber-reinforced bioplastic for use in vehicle interior and exterior components such... Read more →


Catalytic pyrolysis company Anellotech, which focuses on producing cost-competitive BTX (benzene, toluene and xylene) from non-food biomass, revealed Toyota Tsusho Corporation as a multinational strategic equity investor and corporate partner in the renewable aromatic chemicals supply chain. The renewable aromatic chemical can be used use in making plastics such as... Read more →


UK-based Recycling Technologies is industrializing a process—originally developed at the University of Warwick (UK)—to convert residual plastic waste into a low-sulfur hydrocarbon compound called Plaxx. Plaxx is created from residual mixed plastic waste that is not amenable to direct recycling and would otherwise go to landfill. The company, a 2013... Read more →


Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a new class of high-performance thermoplastic elastomers for cars and other consumer products by replacing the styrene in ABS (acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene) with lignin, a brittle, rigid polymer that, with cellulose, forms the woody cell walls of plants. In doing... Read more →


Solvay participating in Polimotor 2 carbon fiber reinforced polymer engine project

Solvay is taking a “leadership role” in the development of the Polimotor 2 all-plastic automotive engine to be tested in a race car next year, demonstrating the company’s advanced specialty polymer technologies in light-weighting through metal replacement. The collaborative project is intended ultimately to set the stage for innovative breakthroughs... Read more →


The IBM-led researchers show that the formation of a trifunctional cross-link point through reaction of a diamine and paraformaldehyde leads to a thermally stable and mechanically ductile thermoset. Low pH triggers the reversal of the thermoset architecture to the corresponding monomers. Credit: K. Zhang/Virginia Tech. Click to enlarge. Using a... Read more →


Early version of CRP-based armrest piece under development. Source: Weyerhaeuser. Click to enlarge. A three-year collaboration between Lincoln, Weyerhaeuser and auto parts supplier Johnson Controls has resulted in the creation of a tree-based, renewable alternative to fiberglass for use in auto parts. (Earlier post.) The 2014 Lincoln MKX features the... Read more →


ARPA-E awarding $3.5M to Berkeley Lab project to develop novel enzymatic gas-to-liquids pathway

On 19 September, the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awarded $34 million to 15 projects to find advanced biocatalyst technologies that can convert natural gas to liquid fuel for transportation. (Earlier post.) The largest award in the technical area of High-Efficiency Biological Methane Activation in the new program, (Reducing Emissions... Read more →


Fiat 500L using SABIC polycarbonate glazing materials in rear fixed side windows; lighter weight than glass

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation’s (SABIC) Innovative Plastics business is marking continued progress in the adoption of its polycarbonate (PC) glazing materials for automotive window applications with Fiat’s new 500L multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), which features rear fixed side windows molded from SABIC’s clear LEXAN GLX resin and black CYCOLOY resin. These... Read more →


TenCate and BASF enter strategic alliance for thermoplastic automotive composites for high-volume production

TenCate Advanced Composites and BASF have entered into a strategic alliance to cooperate on the development, production and commercialization of thermoplastic composite materials suitable for high-volume vehicle production. The main goal of this partnership is to offer car manufacturers custom-engineered solutions for high-performance composite structures, which enable this industry to... Read more →


Researchers optimize production of high-quality transportation fuels from LDPE plastics

Researchers in Spain have obtained high-quality transportation fuels (gasoline with RON >80 and diesel with cetane number >70) from oil obtained by the thermal cracking of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) using a bifunctional catalyst comprising Ni (7 wt %) deposited on a hierarchical Beta zeolite (Ni/h-Beta). A paper on their work... Read more →


Iron projecting into the center of the tube-like metal-organic framework (center, looking down its roughly nanometer-wide opening) attracts the light hydrocarbon molecules that surround it to varying degrees. These varied attraction levels could make the framework more efficient at hydrocarbon separation than current refinery processes. Credit: Bloch et al. Click... Read more →


Injection molded plastic parts with steel cord reinforcement. Source: BASF. Click to enlarge. BASF, Bekaert (Belgium) and voestalpine Plastics Solutions (Netherlands) are developing thermoplastic components that are reinforced with steel cord fabrics and produced by means of injection molding. The three companies have joined together with the objective of employing... Read more →


New polycarbonate-ABS blend roof element debuts with new Mercedes SLK; transparent panorama roof an option

A new application of polycarbonate-ABS blends (PC+ABS) is premiering together with the new Mercedes SLK. The base version of the convertible is equipped with an electrohydraulic vario roof system having a roughly 0.8 square meter roof element of Bayblend T85 XF from Bayer MaterialScience. The modular vario roof system for... Read more →


Relaxed surface structures of the MWW and MFI nanosheets. Si, O, and H atoms are colored in yellow, red, and white, respectively. (A and B) MWW nanosheet viewed along the a (or b) axis (A) and along the c axis (B). (C and D) MFI nanosheet viewed along the c... Read more →


2010 global automotive materials market by revenue (top) and volume (bottom). Source: Frost & Sullivan. Click to enlarge. A new report from Frost & Sullivan, “Prevalent Substitution Trends within Materials and Chemicals in Automotive Lightweighting”, finds that the lightweight automotive materials market (metals and plastics) earned revenues of $38 billion... Read more →