It's taking a long time to adopt biocomposites in automotive applications because of the price of wood, according to a speaker at the International Conference on Bicomposites.
The challenge is about price, said William Harney, executive director of research and development with Magna Exteriors and Interiors, a unit of Magna International Inc. of Aurora, Ontario. The price of wood pulp is a hurdle in biocomposites that use wood fiber as reinforcement, Harney told delegates at the May 2-4 event in Toronto.
There is market pressure on pulp prices. Now they are a moving target, Harney said. Nonetheless, wood-fiber-reinforced biocomposites could be alternatives to glass-fiber-reinforced polymers.
High-end biocomposites could find use in vehicles as they support drives to cut cost and weight. The cost of new components is, however, paramount in carmakers' thinking, he stressed.
Packaging trays and headliners are two areas where biocomposites could soon find uses.
Extra work in compounding contributes to the higher cost of biocomposites, Harney noted.
It must be competitive with petrochemically based polymers and glass fiber, he stated.
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