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Wood-Based Biofore Concept Car Reduces Petroleum Usage

Biofore Concept Uses Very Little Petroleum
Biofore Concept Uses Very Little Petroleum

Modern vehicles contain, on average, over 300 pounds of plastic. Of course, most modern plastics are made from petroleum, which opens up a whole new world of pollution and emissions.

Plastic pollution, not only from its manufacture, but also from lack of recycling, means a lot of petroleum goes to waste. In 2012, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) reported that some 32 million tons of plastic waste was generated, but only 9% of it was recycled.

Last year, for the 15 million cars produced in the US, about 2.5 million tons of plastic was used, which translates to about 1.2 billion gallons of crude petroleum. Add to this the hundreds of billions of gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel that will be used in those cars during their lifetimes, and it’s an emissions nightmare.

The Biofore Concept Car removes a significant portion of plastic content from its vehicle, and plastic’s associated petroleum footprint, by making use of a new wood-based composite materials. UPM, a Finnish forestry company, specializes in wood products of all kinds, including pulp, paper, and construction materials. In the Biofore, traditional plastic surfaces are replaced by UPM Grada, a thermoformed wood material, such as in the floor, console, door panels, and seat backs. UPM Formi, a wood-based biocomposite material using minimal percentages of plastic, is also used for trim pieces and body parts.

As if significantly reducing petroleum-based plastics from the body and trim of the Biofore Concept Car wasn’t enough, the car doesn’t burn petroleum-based fuels to run. Instead, the Biofore runs on a wood-based biodiesel, UPM BioVerno, in a tiny 1.2 ℓ engine. UPM says its biodiesel can also be used in any modern diesel engine, to run carbon-neutral.

Image © UPM

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  1. LoneWolffe beepee  I agree completely (without going into a political rant, as to why things are as they are).  Maybe if people realized that since we now have evidence that “electric” motors can propel autos, and a (Veggie Fueled) TDI diesel “generator” can provide the electric for the motor (all but eliminating lithium batteries). . . . passion notwithstanding, it would be difficult to continue to ignore the logic.  

    Is this what VW is planning in order to get 250mpg?  Remember, all OTS technology, nothing new is involved (disclaimer:  “no inventors were harmed in the making of this car”).

  2. beepee LoneWolffe  We NEED passionate people, as well as the numbers, to convince those “in charge” that the status quo isn’t working, and that the green technology works even better than people are assuming.

  3. LoneWolffe beepee  Given that the Diesel was invented to run on peanut oil, and that new TDI diesels are out-performing most hybrids, and that 100% of all goods are transported to market via diesel engines (to be purchased by consumers driving (mostly) gasoline engines), makes a compelling argument.  Knowing that the entire California Central Valley Project is based upon water as an “engineered” resource (as opposed to a natural resource), and that the CVP could not produce a single “fruit basket” without the irrigation principle, it follows that if millions of acres of veggy’s could be engineered and produced in an “irrigated desert”, then borrowing Weyerhaeuser’s approach in existing agricultural environments (N.C., S.C., VA, etc.), will produce even more veggies.  

    I believe Weyerhaeuser is replanting either retired or abandoned farmland (formerly used to produced food plants), which requires little or no irrigation.  In addition, this new process would establish an entirely new and competitive industry that would create thousands upon thousands of jobs and desperately needed new career paths.

    I apologize for being so compassionate, but I am retired from the Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Project in Northern California.  Though, in times of drought any system can be stressed, but otherwise the CVP is a harmony of precision and perfection.

  4. beepee  thanks for the supplemental information. carbon-neutral is a great way to go, only we need to get way more people on board with the idea. i like the fact that, in addition to responsible harvesting practices, the biodiesel works just like the dinosaur does, so it’s practically a drop-in replacement  isn’t it? there’s an aviation company working on a similar biofuel drop-in replacement for jet fuel.

  5. One thing I forgot.  Weyerhaeuser plants many more trees than it harvests.  Remember when the concept was to “save a tree” – that has gone away because of replanting.  I say this because Bio Verno, as well as corn, palm, or peanuts can be replanted at a much higher rate than they’re harvested, as well.  Question: once the veggy’s are produced and the oil refined/extracted, what’s the waste?  Zero

  6. This is an
    interesting concept.  The exception is
    that there has already been enough auto industry plastic generated.  Newly instituted compulsory recycling, could
    supply all the future auto industry needs. 
    Just as a dismantler primarily resells automotive parts, their secondary
    function should become recycling the remaining auto materials.  After all, at the dismantler level, the
    obsolete vehicles are already staged and rubber, glass, plastics, and metals
    can be easily separated for distribution. 
    Remember, the U.S. exports tons of “scrap” metals.  A new concept:  Old cars used, to make new cars.
    UPM Grada,
    Raflatac, Formi together, in concert with “100% used/recycled” auto
    plastics/metals/glass is a concept that can be phased-in, in a manner that
    benefits both business and the consumer. 

    UPM Bio
    Verno will work in unison with classic veggie-diesel fuels.  What they both have in common is that they
    both can become an “engineered” natural “renewable” resource.  Both the wood-based and the veggie-based
    fuels will naturally (agriculturally) regenerate, virtually without detrimental
    environmental waste.


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