Automotive Performance Materials (APM), a joint venture between Faurecia and Interval, is aiming to develop and produce bio-sourced raw materials, building on the advances already made by Faurecia to create lighter, cleaner vehicles.
APM aims to supply the automotive industry through Faurecia, one of the world’s leading automotive equipment suppliers, and other players in plastics engineering. It will draw on the assets of France’s industrial and agricultural sectors through innovative, performance products in developing industrial uses for natural fibers such as hemp.
Interval, a major French agricultural cooperative, will harvest and defibrate hemp to supply it to Automotive Performance Materials, where it will be transformed and mixed with a thermoplastic resin to create an injectable material known as NAFILean. Automotive equipment suppliers can use the raw materials to make automotive parts.
NAFILean enables weight savings of up to 20% based on equivalent performance, with a 25% improvement in lifecycle.
The new company will help automakers and equipment suppliers rise to the demand for weight savings and sustainability. Production in France is already underway and the business is set to expand to the North American market in 2016, with plans to export to Asia by 2018.
“This agreement represents a key milestone in the global development of plastics containing bio-sourced materials. It allows us to pursue our ongoing campaign to achieve weight savings and develop environmentally sound products for automakers. We are also proud to enter into a partnership with French agricultural cooperative Interval, which seeks to promote a high-quality agricultural sector in tune with the environment,” said Raphaël Berthoud, General Manager of Automotive Performance Materials.
Faurecia continues to invest in research into bio-sourced materials to reduce environmental impact and also promote independence from oil-based products. APM will soon begin industrial production of a 100% bio-sourced plastic called BioMat that uses fibers and natural resins obtained from biomass, and was developed in partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical.
Image courtesy of Faurecia