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Engineering, Recyclable, and Biodegradable Plastics in the Automotive Industry: A Review

The automotive industry has used plastics almost since the beginning. The lightness, flexibility, and many qualities of plastics make them ideal for the automotive industry, reducing cars’ overall weight and fuel consumption. Engineering plastics in this industry belong to the high-performance segment of non-renewable resources. These plastics exhibit higher properties than commodity plastics. Fortunately, unlike recycled commodity plastics, the super properties and high-performance characteristics make engineering plastics effectively reused after recycling. The substitution of these fossil-fuel-derived plastics adds to the solution of lightweighting, a much-needed solution to waste management, and solves industrial and ecological issues surrounding plastic disposal. All major vehicle manufacturers worldwide use bioplastics and bio-based plastics, including natural-fiber composites and engineering plastics reinforced with natural fibers. Changing the source of plastics to raw materials from renewable resources is the logical approach to sustainability. Thus, high-quality plastics, recycled plastics, bio-based plastics, and biodegradable plastics could be exploited from design, making sustainability an integral concept of mobility development. This review analyzes that switching from fossil-fuel- to renewable-sources-derived plastics is a step toward meeting the current environmental goals for the automotive industry, including electric cars.

Publication date: 21/08/2022

Author: Horacio Vieyra

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym14163412

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.