Denso radiator tank uses plant-derived resin

  • 28-Jan-2009 01:48 EST
DENSO has developed a bio-based nylon radiator tank. The current radiator tank is made of a glass fiber reinforced nylon 66.

This spring, Denso begins production in Japan of a new radiator tank made from an organic compound derived from castor oil.

The radiator tank for passenger vehicles is "made with 40% plant-derived resin material," said Hiromi Tokuda, Executive Vice President of Denso Corp. Doug Patton, Senior Vice President-Engineering for Denso International America, said that the new housing unit—essentially the top and bottom of the radiator—will be "implemented on new applications."

Denso jointly developed the plant-derived resin—a renewably sourced Zytel RS nylon—with DuPont Kabushiki Kaisha. The renewable carbon in the building blocks of Zytel RS product lines comes from sebacic acid, which in turn is derived from castor oil. The castor oil is obtained from non-food-competitive castor plants, according to Carole Davies, Marketing Communications Programs Manager for DuPont Automotive.

The new tank's green benefit occurs over its life cycle. "It can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 30% when compared with conventional tanks. This is because plant-based resins are made from plants that absorb CO2 during photosynthesis. This makes the plant resin carbon neutral," said Tokuda.

Other than the tank's eco-friendly aspects, Denso officials point out that the new radiator tank is about seven times more resistant to calcium chloride, which is typically an ingredient in snow-melting agents for roadways.

The company's resolve to preserve and protect the environment is "not just for show," said Tokuda, adding, "Our focus is on reducing the environmental impact of a product over its life cycle. This includes procurement, manufacturing, use, transportation, and disposal."

Denso plans to increase use of the new resin on a range of products, according to Akio Shikamura, Managing Officer responsible for Denso's Thermal Systems Business Group.

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