September 12, 2007 The world’s first biofabric made with 100 percent plant-derived fibers and suitable for use in vehicle interiors has been developed by Mazda. The durable biofabric does not contain any oil-based materials and is resistant to abrasion and damage from sunlight, in addition to being flame retardant. Mazda, in collaboration with Teijin Limited and Teijin Fibers Limited, plans to use the fabric for the seat covers and door trims in the its new Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid that will be exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show in October.
This newly developed biofabric uses the entire molecular architecture of raw resins to improve fiber strength. The fabric attained from this process has sufficient resistance to abrasion and light damage for practical use in vehicle seat covers. The biofabric is made of 100 percent polylactic acid, which is a plastic created by combining large numbers of lactic acid molecules that are made from fermented carbohydrates such as plant sugars. Other crucial qualities necessary for high performing fabrics, such as fire retardant properties, were achieved through Mazda’s accumulated experience in surface technologies built up through years of cooperation with several local research and design companies.
Seita Kanai, Mazda’s director and senior executive officer in charge of R&D, said, “We are convinced that our new technology, which enables the manufacture of this material without any oil-based resources, will become a cornerstone for future biotechnologies aimed at reducing the burden on the environment.”
Mazda developed this new biofabric in collaboration with Teijin Limited and Teijin Fibers Limited, who are all based in Hiroshima. Using this biotechnology, Mazda will strengthen its future research and development on non-food-based materials in consideration of the impact such technologies have on food supplies. All of Mazda’s biomaterials fall under the “Mazda Biotechmaterial” brand name, and the company says it is committed to the continuing research of these environmentally friendly technologies.
The 100 percent plant-derived biofabric, will be featured in the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. The displayed car will also feature a bioplastic, which Mazda developed in 2006, for the vehicle’s instrument panel and other interior fittings.