Magna International Inc., a leading global automotive supplier, and bio-on, an Italian intellectual property company, have signed a cooperation agreement on December 13, 2013, 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, 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 Exteriors 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 Exteriors will utilize its facility in Liberec, Czech Republic, for joint testing.
“Our material has already demonstrated great potential in diverse industries and we now want to apply it to the automotive sector as well,” says Marco Astorri, CEO and co-founder of bio-on. “Through this partnership, bio-on hopes to contribute significantly to meeting the global need for a greener future mobility, with lower environmental impact.”
“As a leading global automotive supplier, Magna is leveraging its manufacturing expertise to partner with bio-on to deliver a potential game-changing innovation to the industry,” said Joe Pittel, President Magna Exteriors. “We are excited about the possibilities this cooperation offers us to further support our customers in pursuit of environmentally friendly vehicles.”
Founded in 2007 bio-on has developed and protect the world’s first bio plastic PHAs that are 100% naturally biodegradable in water and soil. An outstanding product that is derived from the transformation of beet and cane sugar production residues (in Italy in partnership with Co.Pro.B.), using a natural production process with no organic solvents. The product also biodegrades in river water in just a few weeks, leaving no trace. The PHA bio plastic developed by bio-on turns a waste product that would otherwise be discarded (a cost therefore becomes a resource) and therefore has no impact on the food chain, unlike other types of “organic” products such as biofuels or other bio plastics that use cereals. The bio plastic protect by bio-on has extraordinary features: high thermal and mechanical resistance; can be worked using standard production technologies used for common plastics from oil. It is therefore possible to make an infinite variety of objects in all sectors which currently use traditional plastics made from oil. The biodegradability of bio-on bio plastic was certified in 2008 by Vinçotte. Bio-on is an Intellectual Property Company and provides technology for the production or use of PHAs based on a license that restricts their use to a particular territory or to a specific business area.
About Magna International
We are a leading global automotive supplier with 316 manufacturing operations and 84 product development, engineering and sales centres in 29 countries. We have over 125,000 employees focused on delivering superior value to our customers through innovative processes and World Class Manufacturing. Our product capabilities include producing body, chassis, interior, exterior, seating, powertrain, electronic, vision, closure and roof systems and modules, as well as complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing. Our common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MG) and the New York Stock Exchange (MGA).