Volvo upcycles ocean plastic with the help of Swiss technology

In the future, every Volvo car will feature plastic parts made from discarded fishing nets or PET bottles. The Swedish carmaker turned to an innovative Swiss technology to show how this can be achieved.

Volvo announced last week that it is taking concrete steps to make its cars more environmentally friendly. From 2025, 25 per cent of the plastics used in every newly launched Volvo car will be made from recycled material.

To demonstrate how this will work in reality, the Swedish carmaker unveiled a specially-built version of its XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV. The prototype looks identical to the existing model but has had several of its plastic components replaced with equivalents containing recycled material.

For instance, the car’s tunnel console is made from renewable fibres and plastics from discarded fishing nets and maritime ropes, while the floor carpet and seats contain fibres made from PET plastic bottles. Used car seats from old Volvo cars were even used to create the sound-absorbing material under the car bonnet.

Volvo teamed up with natural fibre composite company Bcomp from Switzerland to produce the interior parts of its prototype car. Thanks to Bcomp’s powerRibs reinforcement technology, recycled ocean plastic can be used in a wide range of semi-structural interior parts. The parts are also up 50 per cent lighter than those made from standard engineering plastic.

“We’re very grateful for the support of Bcomp in the production of our recycled plastics demonstrator XC60 vehicle. As we start to deliver on our 2025 vision, sustainable material and technology like powerRibs, will be essential in both replacing primary plastics and reducing weight at the same time,” said​​​​​​​ a Volvo Cars spokesperson.

Image credit: Volvo

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