An automotive interiors specialist is to collaborate with a materials supplier to replace the use of petrochemicals with natural polymers.

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) and Prisma Renewable Composites have an agreement giving YFAI exclusive use of Prisma's lignin-based material to develop automotive interiors.

Trademarked BioLAN is produced using lignin, a natural byproduct of the pulp and paper making process, which is essentially the 'glue' that surrounds the cell walls of living plants like trees and grasses. It contains a vast amount of the world's carbon and has the potential, if modified correctly, to replace many petrochemical-based products.

The agreement includes plans to introduce the material to YFAI's broad customer base for use in various automotive interior applications. Prisma said its technology is a sustainable alternative to Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic which is used broadly in the automotive industry.

Through the lignin technology, petrochemicals are partially replaced by natural polymers. The resulting material improves key properties of traditional ABS plastic, including cost, higher UV resistance, and higher tensile strength while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"YFAI continually looks outside of the industry for materials that not only have applicability for use in automotive interiors but also are beneficial from a sustainability perspective," said Jeff Stout, executive director, innovation and new mobility, North America, for YFAI.

"We see great promise in the BioLAN material."

"Prisma and YFAI's agreement is an important step forward in environmental stewardship and is one of the first of its kind regarding this application for lignin," said Adam McCall, founder and CEO, Prisma Renewable Composites.

"For decades, it has been the dream of many scientists to find a higher value purpose for lignin, due to its incredible potential."

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