The future of sustainable materials? Frying oil and old bumpers

The future of sustainable materials? Frying oil and old bumpers

The IVET Show Car showcases 20 ideas for the use of sustainable materials. Recycled bumpers, panelling parts made partly from recycled frying oil or carpets made from old mattresses may soon be making their way into series-production Škodas.

14. 6. 2024 Škoda World

Škoda already makes extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials in its cars. However, it is constantly working to incorporate more, not only to comply with future European legislation, but also to be a sustainability trailblazer in the car industry and to achieve the biggest possible reduction in its carbon footprint and fossil fuel consumption.

The second IVET Show Car study shows some steps being taken towards this goal. This time it is based on the production model of the Škoda Enyaq. While the previous study showcased the use of natural materials, the concept now focuses on the maximum use of recycled and recyclable materials.

DSC8975_95aa347aMost of the showcased sustainable solutions will find their way into series production.

“This certainly isn’t an unrealistic vision. Quite the opposite, most of the ideas presented have a real chance of making it into series production. Of the twenty innovations presented, twelve are already headed for future Škoda cars, with more to follow,” says Petr Kraus, head of body system development at Škoda Technical Development, emphasising the importance of the concept. The concept car thus showcases the use of materials in places that aren’t normally visible to the customer, which is why it was given an open interior design with the structure of some parts visible. Škoda worked with its suppliers to develop the solutions, and the concept car itself was developed over several months in cooperation between the materials development department, the design department and the prototype workshop. Incidentally, even the car itself used to build the concept car is actually recycled. “It’s a test car that we would otherwise have scrapped,” says Petr Kraus.

DSC8995_82db48d4Recycled materials are used to dampen dashboard noise, for example.

Compared to a regular production Enyaq, the concept car has more than double the amount of recycled plastics. “Current legislation requires us to use at least 25% recycled plastic in the car after 2030, but we certainly aren’t putting this off till the last minute and we intend to achieve even higher proportions,” Kraus says. The main reason for using recyclable materials from recyclate is to reduce the car’s carbon footprint. “Plastics are normally made from oil, a non-renewable resource. We’re reducing our dependence on this resource and at the same time reducing our carbon footprint by using material that has already been produced,” explains Kraus.

Check out some sustainable solutions: 

Fewer different materials equal simpler recyclability 

One of the interesting solutions that the car features in several places is a new concept of multi-layer material, which the carmaker calls mono-material. The idea is that the upholstery in many areas of the car, such as the seats, doors or parts of the dashboard, often consists of up to three layers of different materials that are glued together, making them impossible to recycle. The essence of mono-material is that all the layers are chemically the same material, just made with a different technology so that they have different properties that Škoda needs in each layer. 

DSC8910_9fa9ea6eRecycled materials are used a lot in car seats, for example.

The layers, both made from recycled PET bottles, are glued together with the same adhesive base, so the upholstery can be recycled as a whole. “It’s important to say that all the recycled materials meet our highest standards, pass all the functional and durability tests and comply with the legislative requirements that otherwise apply to non-recycled materials (virgin quality), so our use of recycled materials does not represent any reduction in quality for the customer compared to the virgin materials made from fossil resources used previously,” explains Dalibor Kopáč, who is responsible for the development of sustainable materials. From a practical and functional point of view, the user won’t be able to tell the difference between recycled and conventional materials.

DSC8970_c392fdddDoor panelling can even be made from yoghurt pots.

The use of so-called post-consumer plastics, i.e. used plastics that end up as waste, is also fundamental to the IVET Show Car study. In the concept car, these are represented by plastics made using the contents of “yellow bins” and also used polyurethane mattresses or car batteries, for example. The study has wheel arch covers, a bonnet lock bracket and a water channel cover under the windscreen made of plastic car battery covers. The mattresses are used in floor damping or noise insulation. Waste from plastics bins, such as yoghurt cups, is used for interior door linings. “By using these materials, we reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or incinerators,” says Dalibor Kopáč.



Even oil and rubber can be recycled

The concept car also uses some ideas that are very unconventional or haven’t been possible to implement so far. “Until recently, it was almost impossible to recycle painted parts. Now we have a bumper made with a high proportion of material from old bumpers,” says Lukáš Zuzánek, development engineer for sustainable materials, describing another innovation in the use of recycled plastics. The material used for the car’s sill cover is made from recycled frying oil. And the rubber door seal is made from recycled rubber – which was unfeasibly hard to recycle until recently. “Now, though, the technology exists to devulcanise the rubber, then prepare new granulate and produce new vulcanised rubber,” Zuzánek explains.

DSC8834_ee646909Painted parts were impossible to recycle until recently.

And more ideas are already taking shape in the minds of Škoda engineers…

IVET Show Car

IVET stands for inovační veletrh, in other words Škoda’s annual internal innovation fair, where the company presents new ideas and innovations to its employees that may or may not eventually make it into production. Sustainability has traditionally been one of the themes of the fair and the innovations themselves, and many of the ideas from the fair are already being used in standard cars. The Czech carmaker publicly presented some of the ideas back in 2022 with the first so-called IVET Show Car, which was a car based on the Octavia. That car showcased the use of materials with natural origins: parts used in various places, especially in the interior, thus used sugar beet fibres, for example, miscanthus grass, alpaca and virgin wool fibres, as well as other materials. A second IVET Show Car based on the Enyaq was revealed to the company’s employees in late 2023 and is now being presented to the public. “This time, our principal focus is on increasing the recycled materials content and making the parts themselves more recyclable,” suggests Petr Kraus from Škoda Technical Development.


Related Stories Based on tags: 2024, ecology, Enyaq, Sustainability, Technology