Honda will use bio-fabric interiors

Honda recently announced that it has found a way to make fabric for car interiors that meets all the needs of a modern car but is made from plant fibers. The fabric is not totally "green", as the polyester material (PPT, polypropylene terephthalate) in the fabric is made from 1-3PDO (propanediol, which is produced from corn) and terephthalic acid, a petroleum-based component, according to Honda's press release.

I'm a little skeptical of Honda's claim that using this biofabric "offsets all CO2 emissions produced during the disposal stage of the car, through the CO2 absorption that occurs during the growth stage of the plants used as the raw materials." My skepticism comes from the lack of details Honda provides, combined with the inherent difficulty in applying cause and effect to something as complicated as the environment. If Honda is claiming that the plants they're growing to use in this biofabric will suck up as much CO2 as it'll take to dispose of the car, then there's a lot we need to know to verify this claim. What was on the land before the corn was sown there (because if it was, say, a forest, then isn't the corn actually removing less CO2 than the forest would have)? How much CO2 is emitted in the harvesting and transporting of the corn fibers to the plant? Are these emissions figured into Honda's calculations? I support Honda's efforts to make the entire car-manufacturing process greener, but I think it's good to step back from a corporation's claims of environmental cleanliness to judge just how likely they are to be true.

Honda's press release on the biofabric also contains the teaser line that the material will be used in "the company's all-new fuel cell vehicle, which will be introduced to the market within the next three years". Interesting.

[Source: Honda UK via, Hat Tip to Alex Nunez]

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