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Consolidation of Natural Fibre Composite Use in German Automotive Industry

29 October 2004

A recent report by AKV-TV states that 160,000 tons of natural fibre composites were used in the German Automotive Industry during 2003.

Despite a weak economic situation and high pricing pressure, the use of natural fibres in the German automotive industry could well stand its ground in 2003 and even increase in some sectors, as revealed by nova-Institute`s current market survey.

The use of composites equipped with the reinforcing fibres flax, hemp, jute, kenaf and sisal increased by almost 5% to 45,000 tons from 2002 to 2003. These materials are mainly used in interior door panelling and boot case linings in medium-class and luxury class passenger cars, being characterized by a high mechanical load capacity and a simultaneously low weight.

Wood fibre composites amounted to 36,000 tons in 2003 and reprocessed cotton reinforced materials to 79,000 tons, the latter particularly used in lorry driver cabs. Hence all natural fibre reinforced composites together amount to 160,000 tons, 88,000 tons of which accounting for natural fibres and 72,000 tons for thermoset (duroplast) and thermoplastics. Accordingly approx. 16 kg of natural fibres are used per vehicle, calculated on a basis of 5.5 million vehicles produced in Germany in 2003. Further natural fibres are used for the purpose of automotive insulation and seat upholstery.

MFor the first time a new processing technology made its way into series production in 2003: natural fibre injection moulding with polypropylene matrix. Experts are considering this technology as sleeping giant, because of its mechanical properties, density and prices – particularly beyond the automotive sector. This is also revealed by a current survey which has been conducted by nova-Institute for the German working committee reinforced plastics / ""AVK-TV"" (www.avk-tv.de).

Use of natural fibres in the German automotive production 1996 till 2003; nova-Institute Hürth, September of 2004. Price of the PDF file: 50 EUR plus 16% VAT.

A free short version of the market study as well as both full studies are available in the internet at http://www.nachwachsende-rohstoffe.info/pdf there you will also find further information on additional studies.





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