Tata Motors
Automotive Sustainability:
Ghost Fishing Nets
The world's oceans today are plagued with plastic waste, including discarded fishing nets or ghost nets made primarily of Nylon. In the open ocean, these nets continue to trap everything in their path, endangering marine life. Worldwide NGOs, governments and corporates have taken initiatives to collect these nets from oceans and use them in fashion, textile & sports industry.
The team at Tata Motors Limited (TML) too realized the gravity of this problem and embarked on a groundbreaking project to source and upgrade the material derived from fishing nets for use in structural automobile applications. They focused on developing inner door handle brackets for their Nexon and Altroz models, aiming to create a first-of-its-kind application in India. This innovative initiative presented significant financial, environmental, and social benefits, fostering a sustainable ecosystembased business model.
Leveraging in-house R&D and external partnerships
Since regenerated materials have issues related to quality and continuous supply, finding an appropriate raw material compounder for developing material from fishnets was one of the main challenges. There was a strong need for in-house R&D, capable and reliable network of feedstock suppliers at the compounder end. Hence, lot of effort was taken in looking for a capable local partner.
The project was completed in over 18 months. In addition to address ocean pollution concern, REG- NYL has significantly lower carbon footprint as compared to virgin Nylon thereby saving energy and preventing CO2 emissions.
Key challenges
Amongst the technical challenges faced, the most important was to upgrade the mechanical and weathering properties of the feedstock material to match the properties of virgin material. Economic prudence dictated that the same moulding tool to be used which was designed for virgin material since developing a new tool for using regenerated Nylon (REG-NYL) had significant cost implications. These challenges were overcome by using glass fibres, minerals, ultraviolet stabilizers, impact modifiers and pigment. The correct choice of additives, its precise proportion and synergic and homogeneous formulation were critical in the development of REG-NYL.
Tata Motors received several recognitions for their pioneering efforts, including 'The Economic Times Polymer Award' for 'Excellence in Recycling - Structural Applications' and the 'Most Environmental Best Practice Award' at CII Greenco 2021.
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Last updated on 19th February 2024