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Mitsubishi Motors Develops 'Green Plastic'

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Mitsubishi Motors Develops 'Green Plastic', Bamboo-fiber Reinforced Plant-based Resin

Tokyo, Japan, Feb 20, 2006 - (JCN Newswire) - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, with cooperation from the Aichi Industrial Technology Institute (Kariya, Aichi Prefecture), has developed an automotive interior material which uses a plant-based resin, polybutylene succinate (PBS), combined with bamboo fiber. Parts made from the material will be used in the interior of a new-concept minicar, to be launched in Japan in fiscal 2007. Mitsubishi Motors has dubbed its independently developed plant-based resin technology, including this PBS-bamboo fiber resin, "Green Plastics". Mitsubishi Motors will continue to promote the development of environmentally friendly materials, directed toward increased practical applications.

In an effort to help stop global warming, slow the depletion of our oil reserves, and protect our forests, Mitsubishi Motors plans to substitute plant-based resins and quick-growing plant fibers for materials such as petroleum-based resins and wood hardboards used in car interiors. The use of these renewable plant-based resources, in principle, will add no CO2 to the atmosphere. Mitsubishi Motors began developing the materials in conjunction with the Aichi Industrial Technology Institute in 2004.

PBS, the main component of the material, is a plant-based resin composed mainly of succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol. The succinic acid for the material will be created through the fermentation of sugar extracted from sugar cane or corn. The new material combines bamboo fiber with PBS in order to increase its rigidity. Bamboo grows to its full height in just a few years, compared with the tens of years required for traditional timber, and as such may be called a potentially sustainable resource. Bamboo is available and can be grown in a wide variety of areas including Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. The use of Green Plastics may lead to further breakthroughs in the use of bamboo.

According to tests, this PBS/bamboo-fiber prototype achieves an estimated 50% cut in lifecycle CO2 emissions over polypropylene, a widely used petroleum-based plastic. VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels are also reduced drastically over processed wood hardboards (roughly 85% in testing).

In addition to Green Plastic, Mitsubishi Motors is undertaking development of environmental technologies including the MIEV (Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electric Vehicle)concept, and technologies contributing to comfortable interior environment such as Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified seating material, the Bio-clear Filter, and deodorant rooflining. Mitsubishi aims to build cars appropriate to this, the "century of the environment".

Link: http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2006/02/20/211059.html

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Yet another example of why Mitsubi$h! should be pioneering car technology and pretty mcuh be a supplier but maybe not a car manufacturer since they suck at a lot of cars.

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Its clear they haven't been too busy making cars, so its good to see they're doing something else.

Isn't that pretty much waht I said? :AH-HA_wink:

:withstupid:

Edited by Sixty8panther

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>>"In an effort to help stop global warming, slow the depletion of our oil reserves, and protect our forests..."<<

mitsu could help cut a boatload of greenhouse gases by shuttering all their plants. That would be greatly appreciated.

Also- plant-based automotive materials are NOT new.

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Also- plant-based automotive materials are NOT new.

Reeeeeaaaaaally?

Posted Image

Sorry, couldn't resist that one. :P

Edit: But seriously, you've got a good point. Doesn't Morgan even still use wood in the framework of their vehicles?

The problem I see with all this plant-based stuff is that it would require a pretty big increase in the amount of land needed for agriculture. It's nice to reduce dependency on foreign oil, but there's still going to be a great toll on the environment. The biggest difference between gas and alternatives like hydrogen, ethanol, etc, is that the environmental toll will be displaced outside of US cities, so that people won't have to notice it as much. Out of sight is out of mind, right? We need to work on developing better ways of generating electricity. It's pretty ridiculous that we live in the 21st century and our main energy supply is still coal.

Edited by Enzora

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I think they made the body of the East German Trabant from Recycled Toilet paper... or so the joke in Slovakia used to go.

Now that's envoromentaly friendly! :toiletpaper::neenerneener:

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Mitsubishi Motors Develops 'Green Plastic', Bamboo-fiber Reinforced Plant-based Resin

Introducing the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Posted Image

Seriously though, this does sound like some good work. However, from what I've read, CO2 isn't nearly as big of a problem as hydrocarbons and Nitrous Oxide. Both those two deplete the ozone layer, while CO2 only adds heat (after all, we exhale CO2). Still, it's good that automakers are starting to do innovative things to help the environment.

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Good grief that interior is awful, enzora- what's it out of??

I wasn't talking about obvious useage of plant-based materials such as wood interior trim. Ford developed a myriad of soy-based plastics beginning in the '40s- akin to this news piece.

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The problem I see with all this plant-based stuff is that it would require a pretty big increase in the amount of land needed for agriculture.

With the U.S. government paying farmers to either destroy crops or not grow at all to keep prices at an appropriate level, I don't think this will be that much of a problem.

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Good grief that interior is awful, enzora- what's it out of??

I wasn't talking about obvious useage of plant-based materials such as wood interior trim. Ford developed a myriad of soy-based plastics beginning in the '40s- akin to this news piece.

Maybach uses several different woods for the interiors of their cars. I'm not sure what that one's of, I just grabbed it off Google beause I knew it would best express my point. I've always thought their slogan should be "A small forest in every car."

With the U.S. government paying farmers to either destroy crops or not grow at all to keep prices at an appropriate level, I don't think this will be that much of a problem.

True, but existing problems shouldn't justify future ones. Ethanol may be a step in the right direction, but it's still got its flaws. Whether the crop is destroyed or converted into gas, the land would still be better off being left to develop back into a natural ecosystem.

Edited by Enzora

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True, but existing problems shouldn't justify future ones.  Ethanol may be a step in the right direction, but it's still got its flaws.  Whether the crop is destroyed or converted into gas, the land would still be better off being left to develop back into a natural ecosystem.

Not all land can be "natural." Some is necessary for human consumption. That said, I'm in the Biodiesel camp because I have yet to hear a single negative about it and it would solve so many problems.

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Not all land can be "natural." Some is necessary for human consumption.  That said, I'm in the Biodiesel camp because I have yet to hear a single negative about it and it would solve so many problems.

But we can work to minimize the land we need to use for consumption by making more efficient use of it.

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But we can work to minimize the land we need to use for consumption by making more efficient use of it.

I have yet to see any research whatsoever that even remotely suggests America is in some sort of crisis now or will be in the near future. Remember, there are the great plains which are virtually nothing but endless fields. Edited by Croc

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Yet another example of why Mitsubi&#036;h&#33; should be pioneering car technology and pretty mcuh be a supplier but maybe not a car manufacturer since they suck at a lot of cars.

nono... dont let them be a supplier... my Optispark really sucks... and thats Mitsu's design...

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I have yet to see any research whatsoever that even remotely suggests America is in some sort of crisis now or will be in the near future.  Remember, there are the great plains which are virtually nothing but endless fields.

Thank you, Croc, you've illustrated my point beautifully. Those endless fields have a lot more than just grass in them. There's an incredibly diverse population of organisms living in the plains region that is disrupted when human development takes place. But unlike clearing a forest, this disruption is much more subtle in appearance, and people are less likely to take notice. Similarly, when pollution is concentrated in cities, it's much easier for people to notice the illnesses and other problems that it causes. And when people don't notice problems as easily, they're much less prone to fix them. It makes me wonder if people will get to a certain point and say "mission accomplished" when they need to be saying "this is good, but we need to do better." So yes, these plant-based fuels are great, but we need to look beyond them, to even better methods of energy production. However, instead of just focusing on the present, we need to look ahead, in anticipation of the next problem, and the next, and so on, in an effort to constantly improve our world and society.

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