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Covestro provides sustainable solution for new concept car Toyota “LQ”

• New polyurethane composite concept with kenaf fibers

• 30 percent lighter than conventional material

Lightweight materials will play an increasingly important role in future mobility, e.g. they're going to further extend the range of electrical cars. Covestro as a provider of fabric solutions features a long-term experience within the global automotive industry. This also applies to the japanese market, where the Innovation Center of Covestro has already developed many sustainable solutions, as an example components for low-density polyurethane foams.

Based on its innovation leadership, Covestro was chosen as partner by Toyota Boshoku Corporation, a car component manufacturer of the japanese Toyota Group, for jointly developing a replacement polyurethane material for the new electric concept car “LQ” developed by Toyota Motor Corporation. the fabric is predicated on a mixture of Covestro's advanced Baypreg® F NF technology and Toyota Boshoku's expertise in using kenaf fibers, and offers a light-weight and sustainable solution. within the “LQ”, the new product is employed in door trims, where it makes its performance during a car model of this manufacturer.

Kenaf may be a member of the hibiscus family and is growing in regions like South East Asia, Bangladesh, India and Africa. The fiber is obtained from bast fibers of the kenaf plant and has recently attracted increasing attention as an economical staple with good mechanical properties. within the automotive industry, the plant fibre is additionally attracting increasing interest as an alternate staple .

Light and stiff

The kenaf fiber-reinforced polyfoam composite is characterized by a really low area density of but 1 kg/m2 and high strength, making the door trim made from the fiber-reinforced kenaf polyfoam 30 percent lighter than that produced from conventional materials. The lighter the fabric , the further the car can travel on one gas or battery charge.

The new material was developed in close cooperation between Toyota Boshoku and Covestro's recently renovated Japanese Innovation Center. “Our joint development makes a crucial contribution to the planning of particularly lightweight and sustainable vehicles,” says Hiroaki Ido, Head of Polyurethanes Application Development for Transportation at Covestro's Japanese Innovation Center. “It is additionally an honest example of our company's specialise in using alternative raw materials and establishing a circular economy.”

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