• Bio-based plastics set to transform automotive industry
    Sonichem Executive team (from left); Omar Farooq, Principle Process Engineer; Adrian Black, CEO; Andy West, Chief Chemist; Miranda Lindsay-Fynn, Commercial Director

Company News

Bio-based plastics set to transform automotive industry

Feb 19 2024

An international consortium aiming to provide renewable, cost-effective alternatives to petrochemicals commonly used in plastics, resins and composites used by the automotive industry, has received funding of nearly £600,000 from Innovate UK’s 'Resource efficiency for materials and manufacturing' (REforMM) programme.

The CARMA (carbon-neutral agroforestry-derived resins to materials for automotive applications) project will apply consortium leader Sonichem’s ultrasonic processing technique that uses a breakthrough approach to convert sawdust produced by forestry operations, into high-quality lignin. This renewable material will then serve as the basis for bio-based platform chemicals, creating green alternatives to conventional petrochemical-derived materials currently used in various vehicle components. The project aims to significantly reduce the UK’s reliance on imported composite materials, which currently amounts to approximately £250-260 million per year. 

CARMA is being undertaken in collaboration with technology innovation catalyst CPI, who will support scale-up of the Sonichem technology; Scott Bader will pioneer the development of high-performance, sustainable composite resin formulations; and the UK’s National Composites Centre (NCC),SHD composites and Polestar will together explore the potential of these novel materials for automotive interiors applications.

Adrian Black, CEO of Sonichem, said: “We're extremely pleased to have the backing of Innovate UK's REforMM programme for this strong industrial consortium. This funding is a catalyst in our quest to offer the automotive industry a sustainable alternative to petrochemical-derived plastics. With Sonichem's ultrasound technology and the collaborative expertise of our partners, we are set to make strides toward a net-zero future and strengthen the UK's bioeconomy.”

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