Challenge of minimizing natural resources usage

Basic approach

The Toyota Boshoku group is pushing ahead with the promotion of readily disassemblable and recyclable design, the development of technologies for material recycling and the replacement of materials with a range of plant-derived materials in an effort to help curb the depletion of fossil fuels and minerals.

Automobile interior components using kenaf

We have been developing products using kenaf with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions in the automobile life cycle, and kenaf is widely used in our automotive components.

Figure:Automobile interior components using kenaf

Life cycle CO2 reduction benefits (from raw material production to disposal)

By replacing petroleum-based materials with plant-based materials for interior components and using kenaf, with its strong fiber, as a reinforcement material, it is possible to improve fuel efficiency (reduce CO2 emissions during driving) through lightweighting.

Figure:Life cycle CO2 reduction benefits (from raw material production to disposal)

What is kenaf ?

CO2 absorption capacity

It grows rapidly, reaching a height of 3 to 4 m and a stem diameter of 3 to 4 cm in about six months. It is an annual plant that also has a high CO2 absorption capacity.

Figure:What is kenaf ?

How kenaf products are made

Figure:How kenaf products are made
  • Abbreviation of the plastic classification: Polypropylene.
  • A plant-derived plastic made from lactic acid, which is produced by fermenting starch. It has attracted much interest as a biodegradable plastic material and is also environmentally friendly.

Sequential commercialization of kenaf base materials

Door trim base material using kenaf fiber was first utilized in the Celsior in 2000. Since then, Toyota Boshoku has advanced our technology and expanded usage. Examples include 100% plant-derived parts made from kenaf and polylactic acid, the SBI (Simultaneous Back Injection) method for injection molding of resin parts simultaneously with press molding of kenaf base material, and air cleaner cases made by injection molding using kenaf. Recently, kenaf foam base material, which is one of the world’s top-class lightweight base materials, is employed in the LEXUS LS. Furthermore, we are working to expand the product range by expanding the scope of application; for example, such as utilization in the upper part of the LEXUS UX door trim.

Figure:Sequential commercialization of kenaf base materials