How bio-based materials have helped to create the greenest of green cars

How bio-based materials have helped to create the greenest of green cars

May 29, 2019
Marcia González

The Biofore Concept Car, to be under the spotlight at Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019, is all about change: a change in perspective and in the global approach of using renewable materials

There’s no getting around it. Many industries are having to look for resource-efficient alternatives to replace non-renewable materials – materials that are real alternatives to traditional oil-based components yet do not compromise quality, durability or safety.

The solution could be growing in the forest and is the subject of a presentation being given by Pekka Hautala, head of School, Automotive & Mechanical engineering at the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Science.

Making use of innovative biomaterials and know-how from UPM, researchers at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences applied fresh thinking, futuristic design and bold engineering to come up with a car like no other, the ‘Biofore Concept Car’. For the project, UPM engineered unique natural fiber composites and wood-based materials that combine sustainability and high performance and demonstrate what automakers can achieve in future vehicle generations.

Doors and closures and many traditionally plastic parts are made using UPM Formi biocomposite and UPM Grada wood materials. As a result, the car weighs approximately 150kg less than an equivalent-sized car. And what’s more – this street-legal city car is fuelled by UPM BioVerno wood-based renewable diesel.

All biomaterials used in the car are cellulose fiber-based composite or thermoformable wood material which can be safely recycled or burned. The chassis of the car is made of carbon fiber and the load-bearing parts of metal.

UPM Formi is a recyclable biocomposite manufactured from cellulose fiber and plastics. With the materials, as much as 50% of oil-based non-renewable raw material can be replaced with renewable fibers. UPM Grada, meanwhile, is a thermoformable wood material with unique forming properties. The material enables visually aesthetic, high-quality ecological designs. The Grada technology revitalizes the forming of wood with heat and pressure and opens up totally new design opportunities.

UPM BioVerno is a wood-based renewable diesel, which has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to fossil fuels. It is suitable for all modern diesel engines, including the 1.2-liter low-emission diesel engine featured in the Biofore Concept Car.

Meanwhile, UPM Raflatac’s self-adhesive label materials are used to mark spare parts, as well as in the interior and exterior design of the car. The labels have been manufactured using the latest adhesive technology and solvent-free production processes.

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 will take place from Thursday 27 June to Friday 28 June, at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Frankfurt, Germany. To register for this highly focused and solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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