Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has announced the development of a new interior surface material, combining PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) and cotton fibers as a new addition to the "Green Plastic" lineup, MMC's original plant-based material technology.
Car interior surface materials had generally used petroleum-based materials such as PET fibers, due to its durability and flame retardant nature. This new material has knitted in cotton fiber, commonly used natural materials effective in regards to reduce CO2 and preserve oil resources, in to the PET fiber base.
This material has been able to attain the high standards required for automobile parts with its effective original structural design and a flame retardant treatment proper to characteristics of cotton fibers. The material is able to be used not only for vehicle seats but also other areas such as in ceilings and trim surfaces. Due to the fact that cotton is an easily attainable fabric, this new material is expected in expanded usage through different car types from hereon.
Now, preliminary calculations showed that CO2 emission throughout the lifecycle (from attaining raw materials to disposal) has been reduced about 20% compared to conventional products (PET 100%).
In effort to help stop global warming and slow the depletion of our oil reserves, MMC is implementing further research and development in "Green Plastic" technology to substitute the petroleum-based materials, widely used in automobile parts. With products such as "Bamboo fiber/PBS (Polybutylene succinate) interior trim material", "PTT (Polytrimethylene terephtarate) fiber floor mats" and "Liquefied wood phenol resin" already in commercial use, MMC will keep going forward with further technological development and aim for sequential utilization.
Plant-based materials that are carbon neutral (a carbon-cycle concept that the CO2 emission that occurs when plant is burnt can be offset by the amount of CO2 absorbed during photosynthesis of another plant in its growth process) are able to emit less CO2 throughout a product's lifecycle, compared to petroleum-based materials.