Mazda has signed a collaborative research agreement with Hiroshima University to launch a new ‘bioplastic’ research project with the aim to develop plastics formed from non-food-based cellulosic biomass for production vehicles by 2013. The bioplastic being developed will not consume food resources because it will be made from cellulosic biomass produced from inedible vegetation such as plant waste and wood shavings.

The project will focus on designing a production process for an extremely versatile polypropylene, appropriate for extensive use in vehicles. The polypropylene must have sufficient heat resistance, strength and durability to be used in vehicle bumpers and instrument panels. The project will also seek to optimize the manufacturing process for the bioplastic so that it is eco-friendly and cost-effective.

The benefit of plant-derived cellulosic biomass is that it reduces the dependence on fossil fuels and helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Mazda’s previous research on biomass technology resulted in the world’s first high heat-resistant, high-strength bioplastic and the world’s first 100% plant-derived fabric for use in car seats. These two biomaterials are used in the interior of the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid (pictured).