The Nissan Motor company is now using a textile coating made of . . . eggshell membrane! It is now standard on the Bluebird Sylphy - a mid-size sedan sold in Japan. Why eggshell membrane? Turns out it makes the textile more comfortable, more water resistant, and reduces static electricity levels. Where does this product come from? From the waste stream of a Japanese mayonnaise maker who sells the material it to Idemitsu Techno Fine where it is applied to cloth destined to be used for seats, head rests and door trimming.
Where did the use of eggshell membrane come from? Originally from traditional Chinese healers. More recently from Japanese Sumo wrestlers who have used it as a skin cream to reduce scars. (No, I am not making this up.)
Why now? Because cars today are really petroleum showboats. Let's face it, not counting the fuel used to power them, they are full of plenty of plastic which is most usually made from petroleum: the bumpers; under-hood parts: interior materials; and so on. Aside from glass, copper wires, aluminum and steel, and rubber, today's cars are nothing but plastic.
So, like Ford, Daimler Chrysler, and Mitsubishi who are also putting more natural products (coconut fibers, hemp, sisal, soybeans, even a bamboo based plastic) in their cars, Nissan is taking this path coated with eggshells. I hope all of these materials are cheap, comfortable, durable, and don't start to degrade or stink when they get wet. My next car will have to last a long time.
[Source: Business Week]