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PMMA Innovations for Mobility Applications

MAY 31, 2023

Aldo Zanetti, Global Sustainability Manager for Engineered Materials at Trinseo

Today’s mobility industry is ever-changing, and the use of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) in automotive applications is no exception. PMMA applications are increasingly evolving to serve aesthetical purposes like signature lights that enhance brand recognition or cabin lighting that creates a soothing ambiance. There is also growing demand for sustainability within the automotive industry, paving the way for mechanically and chemically recycled PMMA to replace conventional fossil plastics materials.

Sustainability in the Mobility Industry

As consumer interest in zero emission vehicles and carbon neutral manufacturing rises, car manufacturers are reducing carbon emissions both during vehicle manufacturing and consumer use. Government regulations have also made sustainability a top priority for the mobility industry, especially following the approval of the European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement. In 2021, the European Commission proposed FIT for 55, a new roadmap designed to reduce the EU’s CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030.

Considering that passenger cars produce approximately 12% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, choosing sustainable practices has become vital for the automotive industry. In response, automotive manufacturers are pursuing sustainable practices by setting CO2 reduction targets and increasing the amount of recycled materials contained in manufactured vehicles.

Trinseo’s Solutions

To meet customer and end-consumer priorities across a diverse range of industries, Trinseo has intensified our efforts to develop sustainable plastic solution materials. By 2030, we aim to have 40% of our entire product portfolio sustainably advantaged.

PMMA has become an especially strategic material in our efforts to meet the demand for innovative sustainable material solutions that do not sacrifice performance. Trinseo’s history of pioneering chemically recycled PMMA solutions has been recently accelerated thanks to our PMMA acquisitions as well as Heathland B.V., a leading collector and recycler of post-consumer and post-industrial wastes.

Within the last few years, Trinseo has introduced and enhanced our flagship grades for the automotive market, including PULSE™ GX ECO PC/ABS Engineering Resins and MAGNUM™ ABS BIO Resins. Recently, in 2022, we developed and launched our PMMA ALTUGLAS™ R-Life VMR series, which featured 50% and 82% chemically recycled content for the cosmetics market. This latest innovation paves the way for applications in other markets, including the automotive industry.

In June 2023, we plan to launch a new series of sustainable PMMA products designed to meet the challenges of automotive lighting and trim applications while continuing to deliver on sustainability. This will be a global launch designed to satisfy automotive industry needs worldwide.

At Trinseo, our vision is to provide customers with sustainably advantaged solutions that offer the best performance. As we undergo our own company-wide transformation into a material solutions provider, we are proud to support the sustainability journey that automotive manufacturers are also pursuing. We look forward to delivering innovative solutions that sustain our customers’, and their end-consumers’, growing needs as we strive for global sustainability.