CLIMATE PROBLEM TARGETED
The European Union has committed itself to a 20% reduction of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and of 30% in case other major economies make comparable efforts.
Transport is one of the main emitting sectors, and the only one that continues to grow substantially.
Road is responsible for the majority of the overall transport emissions, about one-fifth of the EU’s total emissions of CO2. According to EC monitoring reports, cars are responsible for around 12% of total EU emissions of CO2.
PROPOSED SOLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
It is a common understanding that a 10% reduction in vehicle weight has potential to save 6% – 8% fuel consumption, and since lighter object needs less energy to get accelerated compared to heavy ones, obviously, lightweight materials provide a better opportunity to enhance vehicle’s fuel economy and mitigate GHG emissions.
“Lightweighting” in transport industry has become a major theme of research in recent years; the main motives being anticipated fuel savings and meeting stricter environmental legislations in various jurisdictions such as Europe, North America, and Asia. Lightweighting of car components is expected to lead a fleet-wide fuel consumption reduction as much 16% to 24%, and it could be one major features to meet the 2021 targets. Besides this, fuel efficiency remains among the consumers’ top ten priorities.
Quite recently, lightweight fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) have become material of choice due to their flexibility, functionality and formability into intricate hybrid and multi-part designs. Generally the FRPs are employed in areas dominated with tensile-stress, whereas metals find their utility in compressive-stress areas of automotive applications.
At SAPA, the use of renewably-sourced cellulose fibre in advanced composite materials has already passed the proof-of-concept phase and, after achieving technical validation, is now ready for scale-up commercial opportunities which is the goal of LIFE BIOBCOMPO project.
TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGHS AND INNOVATION ELEMENTS OF LIFE BIOBCOMPO
BIOBCOMPO can be considered as a “pilot project” in the sense of the LIFE program definition. Indeed, the goal here is to develop up to industrial scale a new material and the related production process which has not been applied nor tested before and that offers potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best available technologies.
The LIFE BIOBCOMPO project work plan will regard the development and industrialization of lightweight components for automotive interior and exterior trims through the deployment of low density thermoplastic bio-composites. LIFE BIOBCOMPO also concerns the production of prototypes and their installation on vehicles and qualification by FCA.
The demonstration will be performed on large pre-industrial scale. The final goal of BIOBCOMPO is to manufacture up to 160,000 components to equip up to 30,000 FCA cars.
LIFE BIOBCOMPO WILL CONTRIBUTE TO DEMONSTRATE A TRANSFORMATIVE IMPACT, IN PARTICULAR:
- LIFE BIOBCOMPO will contribute to develop, test and demonstrate innovative bio-based lightweight thermoplastic materials for interior and exterior automotive trims that can further reduce weight and emissions of vehicles. This will definitively contribute to the shift towards a resource-efficient, lowcarbon and climate-resilient economy.
- LIFE BIOBCOMPO can act as a catalyst for the integration and mainstreaming of climate objectives into other Union policies and public and private sector practice. Although the project will be implemented at local level, the technical scale shall allow an evaluation of its viability for large scale replication at European or even Worldwide level thanks to involvement of global automotive players like FCA.
- LIFE BIOBCOMPO results will influence European industrial investments in eco-innovative materials for the automotive sector and this will contribute to promote such new low carbon technologies in the market, thus stimulating more responsible behavior of consumers and leading in the medium-long term to changes in both car makers and automotive suppliers production chains.