Feiplastic '19: Plastics touted as key for lighter cars, cleaner transportation

Author: William Lemos

2019/04/23

SAO PAULO (ICIS)--Automobiles will change more in the next 10 years than in the last 50 years, an industry participant said on Tuesday, adding that vehicles among other things will have to become much lighter to meet stricter emissions standards.

Automakers will also have to look at new aerodynamics and powertrain solutions to meet these new regulations in addition to cutting the weight of automobiles, said Rodrigo Berardine, a business development manager for Owens Corning.

Berardine spoke at a panel about plastics innovation for transportation at Feiplastic.

The panel touted plastics and composite materials as the way for the auto industry to make lighter and more fuel-efficient vehicles that will meet the new standards.

Plastics are on average 40% lighter than aluminum, which is the lightest metal, a panelist said, adding that plastics are also cheaper than metals and more durable.

“The world is becoming lighter and the costs of production are dropping every day,” said Jef Chandley Cruz with RTP Company, a US compounder of custom-engineered thermoplastics.

The use of plastics for transportation were also on display elsewhere at Feiplastic as companies such as Solvay and LANXESS were promoting their own products at the event.

Solvay was promoting parts for an electric bicycle made from specialty polymers, while LANXESS was highlighting the use of two lines of nylon in turbo-charged engines, which are smaller than regular engines and reduce the overall weight of automobiles.

As an example of how plastics could be shaping the auto industry in the future, a Renault Twizy was displayed at the event.

The electric single-seater is 75% made from plastic. It has a maximum range of 100 kilometers and produces zero emissions.

The potential benefits from plastics to the auto industry and to the environment are in sharp contrast with the growing notion that plastics do more harm than good to the environment.

That view was reinforced in Sao Paulo, the host city of Feiplastic, where lawmakers last week approved a ban on plastic straws only days before delegates arrived in the city for this year’s event.

Feira Internacional do Plastico (Feiplastic) takes place on 22-26 April in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Photo above shows a Renault Twizy displayed at Feiplastic. Photo by William Lemos