How would you feel if the plastic in your car was made from recycled animal carcasses?
According to the Edmonton Journal, researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada are developing new methods that could make the ‘mooving car’ a reality.
The process is called thermal hydrolysis and it involves breaking down complex protein molecules into a thick goo that can be manipulated into different types of plastics.
Every week, approximately 5000 tonnes of animal carcasses are buried by the North American food processing industry – enough to make 3500 tonnes of goo.
University of Alberta associate professor, David Bressler, said the experimental goo was being prepared for the Woodbridge Group, a manufacturer of polyurethane, headliners and plastic moldings for the automotive industry.
(image courtesy Edmonton Journal)
Mr Bressler explained the success of the industry was entirely dependent on the formulas developed.
“We are playing with different recipes, mixtures with different properties that give us different mechanical behaviour,” he said.
“You can make something hard and cracky, like a plastic dashboard which is pretty solid, or softer materials for arm rests.”
Mr Bressler said it would be possible for every plastic component of a car to be made from recycled animal carcasses.
“I would like to have all the plastic made from renewable materials like this, that would be the best scenario.
“But I think the automotive industry would be happy with 20 to 30 per cent.”
Mr Bressler said the premium price of plastic manufactured by thermal hydrolysis would be the biggest hurdle it has to overcome.
“You need something of high value to justify the cost of conversion.”
What do you think of the concept? Leather is considered a premium feature in cars. Could cow plastic have a similar cachet? Let us know in the comments section below.