How can the mobility industry incorporate more circular solutions?

Discover how the advanced recycling approach and collaboration delivered a pioneering circular foam for the automotive industry

car driving down a tree lined road

Enhancing sustainability across the vehicle lifecycle enables products to deliver multiple benefits while contributing to a lower carbon footprint.

Unprecedented change

The automotive industry is experiencing a period of unprecedented change as it seeks to reduce carbon emissions and become a circular economy using recycled products. Yet, new products may require re-certification, slowing down adaptation.

At Dow, we are tuned into the automotive industry and understand its strong desire for a more sustainable business model. This is why we want to help the industry accelerate a wide range of solutions which can close the loop along the vehicle lifecycle, helping to introduce technologies that are more sustainable to produce, use, and retire. And without any loss in quality and performance.

Enhancing sustainability across the vehicle lifecycle enables products to deliver multiple benefits while contributing to a lower carbon footprint. At Dow, we believe this really begins at the design stage. Choosing the right raw material is key to addressing challenges in a sustainable way since conventional feedstock has been sourced from fossil fuel.

graphic showing Materials Science lifecycle of Design, Production, Use, End-of-life

Finding an alternative feedstock doesn’t happen overnight. But thanks to existing close collaborations between Dow and our automotive partners, we have sourced recycled waste material from the sector itself and by applying a mass balance approach with external certification from ISCC+ we are enabling closing the loop for the automotive industry.

Closing the loop

This is where an independently certified approach called mass balance comes in. Part of Dow’s broader sustainability approach, it allows the tracing of recycled material from the raw material through to the final product. By incorporating this type of material, it has been possible to reduce the amount of fossil fuel used in the feedstock, thus reducing the overall carbon footprint.

Dow pioneered this approach by applying it to our existing SPECFLEX™ polyurethane range that offers suppliers a solution for products with 55% recycled content and overall better lifecycle analysis profile compared to fossil-based fuel, including lower carbon footprint in production phase, without the need to re-qualify or re-certify products. This benefits society according to ISO 14044 standards, by creating circular polyol and displacing fossil fuels. With this enhanced circularity, we call the new range SPECFLEX™ C.

Circularity without re-qualification

Dow engaged with leading automotive suppliers Adient and Autoneum to apply the power of collaboration and unlock the potential of the mass balance approach. Adient, a market leader for seating in the automotive sector, and Autoneum, the leading acoustics and thermal management supplier, readily agreed to pioneer and validate the new range.

Both Adient and Autoneum are incorporating SPECFLEX™ C into their existing products without having to adapt formulations or processes.

Thanks to the mass balance approach, new solutions enable suppliers and their OEM customers to benefit from the circularity value of the foam matched and meet the market demand for low carbon products and the highest regulatory standards without any compromise.

This is just the starting point to becoming more sustainable. Dow continues to work with a wide range of value chain members to innovate for sustainability. To learn how we can help you meet your sustainability goals with SPECFLEX™ C, contact us.