Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd, Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd., and Toray Industries Inc. succeeded in joint development of a large case made of bioplastics, featured in Fujitsu’s spring 2005 models of notebook computers, named FMV-BIBLO NB80K. This is the first time in the world that bioplastics made from corn starch were used in computer parts. The new technology can reduce by about one liter the consumption of petroleum in the production of a notebook personal computer.
In June 2002, Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories jointly developed a plant-based material mainly composed of polylactic acid, to be used in the manufacture of notebook computer cases. Problems with durability and flame resistance were obstacles to further applications, however. Toray’s participation made it possible to use this new material, a one-to-one mixture of durable petroleum-based resins and plant-based plastic, in about 60 percent of the computer casing, including the back of the display and the bottom of the main body, making the whole product more biodegradable.
Though the cost of the new material is about three times higher than that of conventional materials, there will be no substantial increase in manufacturing cost, as the cost of mass production, including molding, remains unchanged. This biodegradable plastic can be recycled after use. Its use can result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by about 15 percent over the entire product life-cycle, compared to conventional petroleum-based resins.
The three companies intend to continue efforts to reduce their environmental burden and lower the consumption of petroleum resources by further expanding the application of bioplastics.
(Cf. news of Feb. 02, 2005.)
Source: Japan for Sustainibility Aug 05, 2005.