UK automaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is testing materials produced by BASF’s ChemCycling pilot project that upcycles domestic plastic waste into new high-quality polymers.
The BASF process involves transforming hard-to-recycle waste plastic to pyrolysis oil using a thermochemical process.
This secondary raw material is then fed into BASF’s production chain as a replacement for fossil resources to produce a new "premium grade" which replicates the quality and performance of ‘virgin’ plastics.
The new grade can be tempered and colored, making it suitable for dashboards and exterior-surfaces in Jaguar and Land Rover models, JLR said in a July 19 statement.
Jaguar Land Rover and BASF are currently testing the pilot phase material in a Jaguar I-PACE prototype front-end carrier overmolding to verify if it meets the same safety requirements of the existing original part.
Pending the outcome of the trials, JLR expects to use domestically-derived recycled plastic content throughout its cars without any compromise to quality or safety performance.
“Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, however, plastic waste remains a major global challenge. Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers,” said Chris Brown, senior sustainability manager at Jaguar Land Rover.
According to Brown, JLR is “proactively increasing” recycled content in its products, removing single-use plastics across its operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle.
As part of its commitment to addressing the challenge of waste plastic, JLR is also collaborating with textile supplier Kvadrat to offer customers alternative seat options that combine a wool blend with a technical suedecloth that is made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle.