DETROIT — The automotive industry could add 30 pounds of polypropylene per vehicle within 10 years, according to a Dow Chemical Co. executive at SAE '98 in Detroit.
``We see polypropylene use growing significantly because of its versatility,'' said Jim Davidson, Dow Automotive's commercial director for the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions.
PP currently contributes 80 pounds to an average 230 pounds of plastics used per vehicle on a global basis. Within 10 years, PP use could climb to 110 pounds per vehicle as the overall plastics weight rises to 260-280 pounds, Davidson said during an interview at the show, held Feb. 23-26.
Dow obviously is hoping this increase materializes, as it prepares for the pending opening of its first commercial-scale PP plant in Schkopau, Germany. The company's first North American PP plant is scheduled to open in Freeport, Texas, in 2000.
All of Dow's PP plants will use Montell's Spheripol technology. Dow began marketing Montell PP resin last year to lay the groundwork for its PP move.
The Midland, Mich.-based company expects its PP and PP-based TPO products to find automotive uses in such exterior applications as fascias, claddings and body panels, and interior applications such as instrument panels, trim and head-impact systems.
Davidson said the company's long-range PP goals call for five or six global plants producing about 3 billion pounds of PP annually.
``We're looking for a balance between putting pounds out on the street and working toward different applications,'' Davidson said.