Volvo Car Group moves towards more recycled plastics with Technyl® 4earth®
As vehicle manufacturers look for more sustainable solutions to minimize their environmental footprint, there is a marked trend toward increased use of recycled plastics. Volvo Car Group recently announced that, “by 2025, at least 25% of the plastics used in newly launched Volvo cars will be made from recycled materials.” The Swedish brand recently committed to eradicate single-use plastics across all its premises and events by the end of 2019.
During the Ocean Summit last June, Erik Solheim, Head of United Nations Environment, claimed that“extensive recycling and reuse of plastic is vital to our efforts to turn the tide on plastic pollution”.Walking the talk, the carmaker demonstrated its commitment by showcasing aspecially-built XC60 plug-in hybrid SUV that looks identical to the existing model, except a number of plastic components replaced with equivalents containing recycled materials, including Technyl® 4earth®.
Indeed, Volvo Car Group has put its trust in the Technyl® brand to develop a sustainable solution for a vacuum tank for this proof-of-concept car.“We already work with some great, forward-thinking suppliers when it comes to sustainability,”explained Martina Buchhauser, Senior Vice President of Global Procurement at Volvo Cars. “However, we do need increased availability of recycled plastics if we are to make our ambition a reality”.
“The challenge for carmakers is to source sufficient volumes of high quality recycled plastics,” explains Richard Bourdon, Move 4earth® Project Director. “We have been anticipating this trend for some time and this is the driving force behind our pioneering Move 4earth® project.”
Move 4earth® is a Solvay patented technology supported by the European Commission (LIFE+ program) aiming at transforming stable sources of post-industrial or end-of-life technical textiles, such as automotive airbags, into prime quality engineering plastics.
Since the plant opening in November 2016, Technyl® 4earth® polyamide materials have created a lot of interest in the market. Commercial applications have been ramping up as more and more brands from different markets value the properties and environmental performance of this new range of high quality recycled engineering plastics.
“Nearly all global auto OEMs have shown an interest in our Technyl® 4earth® materials as potential solution for demanding parts in contact with hot engine oil and other high-heat environments,” says Wido Ziemer, Business Development Manager Automotive at Solvay Performance Polyamides. “This is a strong sign that we are on the right path with our high-performance recycling solutions.”
Results from tests conducted at different automotive OEMs and parts suppliers have demonstrated the unique properties of this new family of materials. Comparisons with OEM norms set for virgin glass filled PA66 compounds clearly show the full compliance of Technyl® 4earth® for use in demanding technical applications, such as filter housings or cylinder head covers.
“Many brands, including beyond the automotive industry, want to use more recycled plastics in the future to reduce the environmental impact of their products,” adds Bourdon. “Sustainability, secured supply and constant product quality similar to virgin are key ingredients for success. Our Technyl® 4earth® materials combine them all.“
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