PLANT

BioAmber, Faurecia, Mitsubishi Chemical collaborate on automotive bioplastics

100% material for interior parts will replace petroleum-based plastics.


MINNEAPOLIS — Automotive parts supplier Faurecia has signed an exclusive industrial partnership agreement with Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. to co-develop a 100% bioplastic that will be used in automotive interiors.

Faurecia, a French company with 270 production sites, including an emissions control plant in Brampton and a seating plant in Bradford, Ont., will develop a full range of bioplastics in advance of a “boom” that’s expected between 2015 and 2020.

Faurecia’s North American headquarters is in Troy, Mich.

BioAmber, a French producer of biobased succinic acid, will supply the Faurecia-Mitsubishi Chemical partnership. The company is partnering with Mitsui & Co. to build a global-scale manufacturing facility in Sarnia, Ont., and they intend to build two additional facilities: one in Thailand and one in either the US or Brazil.

The project will begin by modifying Mitsubishi Chemical’s patented biomass-derived poly-butylene succinate (PBS), ultimately to be produced from 100% bio sources.

The three companies note environmental constraints associated with vehicle weight reduction and the regulations intended to increase the recyclability of materials (85% in Europe by 2015) call for an increased use of new materials derived from natural resources, which will ultimately replace petroleum-based plastics.

The Faurecia-Mitsubishi Chemical program will develop a polymer that will be used in the production of automotive interior parts such as door panel trim strips, structural instrument panels and console inserts, air ducts and door-panel inserts.

Under the terms of the agreement, Faurecia will hold exclusive rights to automotive applications of the specific polymers jointly developed under the project, which builds on several years of development work carried out jointly with BioAmber, a specialist in bio-based succinic acid technology.

BioAmber’s Sarnia site is co-located in a large petrochemical hub with existing infrastructure. The company says it will have and initial capacity of approximately 17,000 metric tons of bio-succinic acid and is to be operational in 2013.

Total capacity will be approximately 34,000 metric tons of bio-succinic acid and 23,000 tonnes of bio-based 1,4 BDO.