12 Oktober 2009

French make cars from flax

PSA’s Green Materials Plan leads to hemp and flax composites

PSA Peugeot Citroën is today presenting the latest developments in its green materials plan, set up to limit the eco-footprint of Group vehicles during their service life. The Group has set an ambitious target in eco-design: to include 20% of green materials in the polymers used to build its cars by 2011. A car is made up of 70% metal, already largely recycled, 5% miscellaneous materials (glass, etc.) and 5% fluids. The rest is plastics (polymers).

The term “green materials” covers natural fibres such as linen and hemp, non-metallic recycled materials and biomaterials, which are produced using renewable resources rather than petrochemicals. The aim is to use fewer fossil fuel plastics and to increase the use of raw materials from renewable sources to make parts lighter, in some cases, to cut CO2 emissions from plastics production and to promote plastics recycling.

The Earth’s resources are dwindling, so it is important to optimise the way in which they are used. End-of-life processing is therefore factored in from the design stage. The aim is to boost recyclability and thus reduce the potential impact of end-of-life vehicles. As a minimum, 85% of a vehicles weight can be reused or recycled, and a further 10% can be used for energy recovery.

The key feature of the action plan set up by PSA Peugeot Citroën in 2008 is that it concerns all Group vehicles and the three families of green materials. The green material content of each vehicle project must be increased. This approach also involves existing vehicles, with green materials being integrated during their production life. Engineering teams are working in close cooperation with suppliers in order to utilise these new materials.

This effort also gives new impetus to the recycled materials industry. The subject of biomaterials is still at the research stage in the automotive industry. To address the issue, scientific partnerships have been set up as part of research groups bringing together public laboratories, chemical firms and parts suppliers. The aim of these partnerships is to accelerate the application of these materials in the automotive industry.

Source: PSA Peugeot Citroen, press release, 2009-10.08

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