Automotive & Cars

Mitsui Chemicals To Supply Bioplastics for Self Driving Cars

A bio-based polyol supplied by Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. via its Korean joint venture Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes Inc. (MCNS) has been adopted as a raw material for polyurethane cushioning in the seats of the Robocar Walk self-driving car sold by Japan’s ZMP Inc.

The Robocar Walk is said to represent a new concept for self-driving mobility and a partner in how people transport themselves moving forward.

MCNS uses castor seeds—non-edible plant matter that does not compete with food sources—in creating its Econykol.

This then serves as a raw material for a polyurethane product on a positive list that serves as the basis for BiomassPla certification (overseen by the Japan BioPlastics Association).

Polyurethane foam using Econykol is already finding increasing use in cushion materials for automotive seats and furniture.

Now, MCNS is also supplying Econykol as a raw material for seat cushions in ZMP’s Robocar Walk, making for a 27 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared with general-purpose polyurethane foam.

“ZMP has worked to create robotics using designs that resonate with people,” ZMP CEO

Taniguchi said. “Further here, we think it’s essential to make use of materials that are both people-friendly and environment-friendly. By adopting Econykol, we’re able to create robotics that are both people-friendly and eco-friendly – making it possible to provide even more value to our customers.”

Econykol is manufactured by Vithal Castor Polyols Pvt. Ltd. (Mumbai, India), a JV established in 2013 in India – the world’s largest source of castor beans – and owned 50 percent by Jayant Agro-Organics Ltd., 40 percent by MCNS and 10 percent by Itoh Oil Chemicals Co., Ltd.


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