Cellulose Nanofiber Cuts Vehicle Weight by 10%+

A consortium consisting of industrial, academic and governmental institutions completed the “NCV Concept Car,” a concept car made of cellulose nanofiber, in the “NCV (Nanocellulose Vehicle) Project” of Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE).

The consortium, which consists of 22 institutions including Kyoto University, used as many CNF-based parts as possible and realized a weight reduction of higher than 10%. CNF is a plant-derived material.

This time, the consortium developed a sports car equipped with gull-wing doors, which open upwards. CNF and resin materials using CNF as a reinforcing material (CNF-reinforced resins) were applied not only to interior parts but also to outer panels, which require a higher strength, higher rigidity and higher appearance quality.

For the concept car, CNF was proactively applied to large-size outer panels, and a high weight reduction effect was realized. The front hood is made only of CNF and does not contain even CNF-reinforced resin.

For the transparent roof and back window, resin glazing using CNF-added polycarbonate (PC) was used. When CNF is added, the strength and rigidity of PC increase, enabling to reduce thickness and, thus, cut weight. CNF with a small diameter transmits light and does not reduce transparency. This characteristic was utilized for the transparent roof and back window.

The outer panels of the gull-wing doors were made of CNF-reinforced polypropylene (PP).

While the NCV Concept Car is a concept car, it is not a mock-up. It can travel at a speed of 20km/h (approx 12.4mph). The consortium plans to further increase the maximum speed in the future.

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