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Mazda Motor Corp. and an industrial consortium are partnering with the Japanese government and the academic community to develop a new bioplastic made through a fermentation process using natural materials such as fermented starches and sugars derived from corn.

Not only is the new bioplastic carbon-neutral (with only 12 percent petroleum content and reduced energy requirements for manufacture) but it is stronger and more heat-resistant than other bioplastics, making it a viable candidate for a wider range of automotive applications.

The prototype bioplastic is made of 88 percent corn and 12 percent petroleum, and requires 30 percent less energy to produce than conventional petroleum-based polypropylene plastics. Its higher rigidity may make it a superior material to polypropylene plastics for mass production of injection molded parts, like the complex shape shown at right.

According to Mazda, the Hiroshima-based research effort has greatly benefited from the region's fermentation expertise, based on its rich tradition of sake brewing...

[Source: Mazda] Thanks for the tip, amp!


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      wow, I hope this is for real and not just some bs mazda made up to get some attention...

      If this is indeed for real, it is truly wonderful, I hope its implementation can be easily applied to all of our current industries. I would love to see this technology everywhere - from grocery bags to building materials and everything in between...
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's too bad something like this didn't exist 50 or 60 years ago, then maybe there wouldn't be so many derelict cars behind houses and in fields all across the world. When your car breaks/broke down, you just cut it up and eat/ate it. Sorry, bad joke. But it does make you wonder how much great technology is waiting for the right incentive (in this case the rising cost of oil).
      • 8 Years Ago
      What a waste of golden delicious corn.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This whole thing sounds corny.
      • 8 Years Ago
      BCM is right

      Ford had a trunk lid made out of plastic. Favorite thing to demonstrate was to try and chop it with an axe. Did it around 10,000 times before it developed a hairline crack.

      Still pretty impressive though...
      • 8 Years Ago
      So... You can now run the gamut of molded bioplastic shapes from A(daptive steering pump casing) to B(utt plug)?

      Don't get me wrong, I think harder/better plastics requiring less oil is a wonderful thing... but that shape on the left is scaring me.
      • 8 Years Ago
      GW Carver did it first with peanuts. whats wrong with peanuts?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Henry Ford was researching plastic cars made from soybeans way back in the 1940s.Everything old is new again.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This seems like a much better use for corn vs. Ethanol which arguably takes more energy to create than it saves...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Since when did Mazda develop bioplastic? They've been using it in food packaging since 2002. I believe the Australian Government is one of the first to research it and come up with something. Or is this a bioplastic that doesn't biodegrate so easily?
      • 8 Years Ago
      ..and if you're ever left stranded, with just a little butter, you can eat your fender liners!