Biodegradable bags, biodegradabile materials, but biodegradable car? Who would have thought that to protect the environment can be more than the production of electric cars ? … The cars could one day become biodegradable by using the construction process from developing material at Sheffield University.
Researchers work with a producer of palm oil fiber to design a substance for carrying out different body parts that can break down and partly recycle in the hope that later they can create a material that is completely biodegradable.
Sheffield team hopes to combine natural fibers from palm oil, which are currently used in construction to prevent soil erosion, with synthetic resins to create a rigid substance, strong and waterproof.
The material will be designed so that the synthetic resin can be removed and recycled, leaving the fibers to degrade. Researchers are expecting to last at least eight years before this material can help car manufacturers.
Oil palm fibers are usually processed for industrial use, so researchers can go back and change the initial stage of fiber structure to make improvements. In particular, the fibers degrade at a relatively low temperature limiting the choice of traditional processing and product quality.
The team hopes to have a part-recyclable material complete in three years, before moving to version that can decompose completely using natural resins.
Interest in sustainable car production increased over the past decade, but replacing traditional materials can be very difficult to pass the test and be accepted by automakers. Researchers plan to address manufacturers once the research will be in a later stage. “Car manufacturers are one of the groups most resistant to change in terms of new materials and it will not be so easy,” they said. “We hope that once the regulations become more stringent, this will force to do the change.”