Construction of bio-based ‘Noah’ car proves the future of plastics may contain renewable solutions
Students from the Technical University of Eindhoven unveiled ‘Noah’, the world’s first car with structural parts made completely from natural and bio-based materials. No metal or traditional plastics were used in the car chassis and bodywork, making Noah an ultra-light, electrically-powered prototype based on flax fiber and sugar. The city car features two seats and a spacious trunk and weighs in at a little less than 800 pounds. In comparison, the two-seat Smart car weights about 2,000 pounds. To read more about Noah, click here.
Polylactic Acid (PLA) is different than most thermoplastic polymers in that it is derived from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugar cane. Most plastics, by contrast, are derived from the distillation and polymerization of nonrenewable petroleum reserves. PLA is derived from a renewable resource making them compostable and as a bonus, they do not produce toxic fumes if incinerated.
The huge benefit of PLA as a bio-plastic is its versatility and the fact that it naturally degrades when exposed to the environment. –Tony Rogers (CEO of Creative Mechanisms)
A special aspect of Noah is the use of a bio-plastic, which can be made from sugar. The chassis and the interior are made of particularly strong sandwich panels, made of this bio-plastic and flax fiber. The body is made of flax mats that are injected with a bio-based resin. These biological and particularly light materials require up to six times less energy to produce than the usual lightweight car materials such as aluminum or carbon. At the end of its useful life, the bio-composite can be ground and used as a raw material for other products, such as building blocks. The non-organic parts of the car can be included in the existing recycling chain.
Because we live in a society that feeds off of disposable plastic containers, it is our responsibility to find solutions that are less harmful to the environment than traditional plastics. Here at Lomont Molding LLC, we believe that products made from PLA are a step in the right direction to becoming a world more focused on renewable solutions and less dependent on oil.