Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), working with EIDAIKAKO Co., Ltd., MRC Pylen Co., Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, has developed a new floor mat made using plant-based bio-polyethylene (bio-PE) fibre to add to its lineup of proprietary plant-based "Green Plastic" products. The company plans to start production of the new floor mats in the summer of 2012.
Bio-PE is a plant-based resin made using sugarcane molasses (a thick syrup produced in the refining of raw sugar). The company has developed the bio-PE fibre for use in floor mat piling with an eye toward reducing usage of petroleum-based plastics and cutting CO2 emissions. As opposed to conventional petroleum-based floor mats, the fibre in this new floor mat has a core-sheath structure in which the bio-PE core is covered with conventional petroleum-based polypropylene (PP) sheath which allows it to meet the high levels of performance demanded of car floor mats, including abrasion and heat resistance.
In-house calculations indicate that the new bio-PE fibre floor mat achieves a 15 percent reduction in life-cycle CO2 emissions over a similar mat made using petroleum-based PP fibre.
In its efforts to stop global warming and reduce dependence on petroleum, MMC is conducting research and development of a series of proprietary plant-based "Green Plastics" to replace petroleum-based plastics used widely in car parts today. The company's current range of plant-based Green Plastics products includes materials made using liquefied wood-based phenolic resins and interior surface materials which combine PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and cotton fibres. MMC will continue to push forward the development and the commercial application of these and other Green Plastics.