Faurecia has signed an industrial partnership agreement with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation to co-develop bioplastics designed for mass-production for use in automotive interiors.

The French supplier says environmental constraints associated with vehicle weight reduction and regulations intended to increase the recyclability of materials used in the automotive industry – 85% in Europe by 2015 – call for more use of new materials derived from natural resources which will ultimately replace petroleum-based plastics.

The joint Faurecia-Mitsubishi chemical programme will develop a polymer that can be used in mass-production for automotive interior parts.

Joint development will start by modifying Mitsubishi Chemical’s patented biomass-derived poly-butylene succinate (PBS), with the aim of ultimately being produced from 100% bio sources. BioAmber will be the supplier of bio-based succinic acid to the partnership.

In the terms of the agreement, Faurecia will hold rights to automotive applications of the specific polymers jointly developed in the project.

“This agreement with Mitsubishi Chemical will make Faurecia the first automotive equipment supplier to mass-produce a 100% bio-based plastic,” said Faurecia Interior Systems, vice president engineering, Nicolas Pechnyk.

“We are confident about the future of this technology as a substitute for petroleum-based plastic components – indeed, it is one of the main thrusts of our strategic initiative ‘bio-attitude'”.