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Story | 10/19/2022 13:00:20 | 3 min Read time

Transforming the automotive industry: Biochemicals offer a wide range of opportunities to help OEMs and automakers become more sustainable

Dr Florian Diehl

Dr Barbara Gall

UPM BioMotion™ Renewable Functional Filler (RFF) and UPM BioPura™ renewable monoethylene glycols (bMEG) can become game-changer for the automotive industry.

Climate change, raw material scarcity, regulatory pressure, and consumer preferences for sustainable products are critical drivers for replacing fossil-based materials with innovative, renewable products. Hence, new and effective ways to reduce the carbon footprint in production and final articles are being sought throughout the automotive industry. UPM's Renewable Functional Fillers and BioGlycols are leading the way by making it easy to replace fossil materials with renewable materials in end-use applications.

 

 

UPM BioMotion™ Renewable Functional Fillers enable the rubber and plastics industry to take the next step to minimize the overall CO₂ footprint resulting in more sustainable products.

UPM's Renewable Functional Fillers can partially or fully replace traditional functional fillers in virtually all rubber, thermoplastic elastomers and plastic parts in the automotive industry. In close cooperation with leading OEM's, compounders, and converters, RFF has been successfully qualified for automotive profiles, coolant hoses, and precision sealings, as well as compartment plastics used in the car engine.

UPM expert Dr Barbara Gall explains how UPM BioMotion™ RFF replaces fossil-based carbon black and heavy non-conductive white fillers in automotive door seals.

 
 

Regulatory Challenges

With its most recent climate law, the European Union (EU) has set a binding obligation to become greenhouse gas (GHG) neutral by 2050. The EU's 2030 reduction targets have been increased from 40% to at least 55% compared to 1990 levels, putting additional pressure on the automotive industry to reduce further their CO₂ emissions per kilometre driven.

The benefits of UPM BioMotion™ RFFs can become strikingly clear when applied to a complex product such as a vehicle. OEMs are actively seeking more sustainable components. The challenge for automotive manufacturers is how to strike a balance between good technology and environmental performance. This is where UPM's Renewable Functional Fillers can significantly contribute, as in the following example of a door profile.

 

UPM BioMotion™ enables profile producers to fulfil future OEM requirements with direct and indirect benefits.

 

The automotive industry has started replacing heavy steel parts with light metals to increase the range of vehicles and further reduce CO₂ emissions per kilometer travelled. Switching to aluminium or magnesium for car doors, for example, allows a weight reduction of 50–75 %, leading to an overall weight saving of more than 40 kilograms per vehicle. However, both metals suffer from electrochemical corrosion when used with steel, requiring non-conductive vehicle seals with 109 ohm*cm and higher electrical volume resistances. [1, 2]

 
 
 
 

Renewable and sustainable coolants

UPM BioPura™, a new generation MEG made from carbon-neutral raw materials, will redefine sustainability goals. The new mobility is based on resource efficiency and radically improved carbon footprints. By using UPM BioPura™-based engines and battery coolants, automakers can further reduce the carbon footprint of their vehicles.

Multi-talent glycol can do even more

Our wood-based glycol also makes car textiles more sustainable – seat covers, upholstery, polyester yarn and more. 30% - UPM BioPura™ is the drop-in solution for up to 30% renewable ingredients in automotive textiles.

Find out more about UPM renewable glycols


References

[1] Thakur et al., Rubbers Fibers Plastics International, Issue 3, 2020
[2] Colombo et al., KGK Issue 4, 2021

 
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