Brazilian Researchers Discover Method to Make Green Cars Fruity

In the quest to build the greener car, a lot of the focus goes into the type of fuel that will be used to keep the automobile moving and just how efficient the car is at using that fuel source. However, it is worth noting that there are many different ways to work towards creating a green vehicle that is fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Researchers in Brazil have recently begun gaining attention as they have announced their findings relating to bioplastics and their potential application in the automobile industry.

Alcides Leão, a researcher at Sao Paulo State University, recently announced that his team of researchers has discovered a method that allows them to develop a plastic material out of the fibers from tropical fruit. The bioplastic that results from the creation process is, according to Leão, thirty percent lighter than normal plastics and nearly four times stronger. The method used by the team to create the plastics involves creating a sort of powder from the fruit by cooking it and using the resulting cellulose to create the bioplastic. So far, pineapple has proved the most successful fruit for the conversion process but Leão believes that a wide range of fruits including bananas, coconuts, agave and curaua can be used.

Although the team at Sao Paulo has yet to produce more than small quantities for research purposes, Leão has said that one pound of the material created by the cooking process can be made into 100 pounds of plastic. With the materials needed to create such a plastic plentiful and easily renewable, Leão is hoping to find support in the automotive industry where the lighter material can be used to increase fuel efficiency in cars.

So far, Leão and the Sao Paulo team are only working towards developing these plastics for use in automobiles. However, he believes that the strength of the plastic alone will lead to a wide variety of uses in the future.

Photo Credit: Kevin Beecroft