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Floor mat with a green heart

Adding to its lineup of proprietary plant-based "Green Plastic" products, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC), working with EIDAIKAKO Co. Ltd., MRC Pylen Co.

MRC Pylen Co. Ltd., and Toyota Tsusho Corp., has developed a new floor mat made using plant-based bio-polyethylene (bio-PE) fiber. The company plans to start production of the new floor mats in the summer of 2012.

Bio-PE is a plant-based resin made using sugarcane molasses. The company has developed the bio-PE fiber for use in floor mat piling with a view to reducing the use of petroleum-based plastics and cutting CO2 emissions. Unlike conventional petroleum-based floor mats, the fiber in the new floor mat has a core-sheath structure in which the bio-PE core is covered with a conventional petroleum-based polypropylene (PP) sheath. This allows it to meet the high levels of performance demanded of car floor mats, including abrasion and heat resistance. In-house calculations indicate that the new bio-PE fiber floor mat achieves a 15 percent reduction in life-cycle CO2 emissions over a similar mat made of petroleum-based PP fiber alone.

The new mat is part of Mitsubishi's ongoing research program to realize a series of proprietary plant-based "Green Plastics" to replace the petroleum-based plastics used widely in car parts today The company's current range of plant-based Green Plastics products includes materials made using liquefied wood-based phenolic resins and interior surface materials which combine PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and cotton fibers. MMC will continue to push forward the development and the commercial application of these and other Green Plastics.

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