Automakers are finally becoming involved in helping to make vehicles that are more eco-friendly. Not only are the automakers making more fuel efficient cars with lower emissions; they are also integrating parts made from biobased materials into their vehicles. They are using corn, flax, hemp, jute and soybeans and other natural ingredients in their car parts.
There are many reasons why auto manufacturers are doing this. Many of the biobased parts replace petroleum based parts. The US manufacturers are using agricultural materials grown here, which reduces our country’s reliance on foreign oil. Biobased materials are more appealing because their prices are more stable and lower than the higher price of oil.
Another reason automakers are turning to other alternatives is because the biomaterials are biodegradable and recyclable. This is good for the environment. Most companies are now looking at the environmental impact of a vehicle’s entire life cycle. They are trying to make their vehicles environmentally sound from all aspects.
Biobased car components require less energy to manufacture than the traditional parts do. They are also easier on the machinery and also the factory workers. It has been shown that workers have reported getting skin irritations and respiratory issues from fiberglass dust. The natural plant fibers eliminate this health issue.
The one problem that the car makers had to address was in some cases there was a smell factor associated with the plant materials. So the car companies have had their research and development teams focus on eliminating the vegetable odor from interior parts.
The use of plant parts instead of traditional materials give them design flexibility. It also makes parts that have better noise absorption and are also more impact resistant. They are also lighter which make for better fuel mileage. The use of biobased materials is good for American farmers, the environment and for fuel efficiency.