Technological watch

Forvia wins innovation awards for biocomposites, CFRP hydrogen tank

Forvia (Nanterre, France) recently received three accolades at the European Association of Automotive Suppliers’ CLEPA Innovation Awards 2023, the eighth edition of the international competition that recognizes organizations, SMEs and startups for automotive innovations that support the green and digital transitions in Europe. 

Biocomposite materials for reduced emissionsOne award recognizes Forvia’s NAFILean family of biocomposite materials. An addition to this family, NAFILean-R, combines 20% natural hemp fibers with a low-CO2 polypropylene (PP) matrix that is 40% recycled. The result is a material that not only reduces weight but also minimizes CO2 emissions by up to 87% compared to industry benchmarks. NAFILean-R is powered and brought to the market by Materi’act, a subsidiary of the Forvia Group specializing in sustainable materials (learn more below).

In 2022, Forvia became a forerunner in terms of decarbonization by having its net-zero roadmap approved by SBTi. Under this roadmap, Forvia commits to reach net-zero CO2 emissions across the value chain (scopes 1, 2 and 3) by 2045, with two intermediate steps: net-zero emissions on scopes 1 and 2 by 2025 and reduction of scopes 3 emissions by 45% by 2030. NAFILean, developed over the past decade, serves the company’s net-zero ambition. It has already been used for instrument panels, center consoles and door panels, and chosen by major OEMs such as Renault, Stellantis and Nissan.

NAFILean, made from natural fibers, such as hemp and PP, features 20% biocontent and is 100% recyclable. The evolving biocomposite material family is designed for technical plastic parts, offers excellent stiffness, crash performance and resistance to aging. The choice of hemp fibers, known for their environmental credentials, underlines Forvia’s commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of the automotive industry. 

Read more about this NAFILean range here under “NFPP and NAFILean natural fiber composite innovations.”

Materi’actMateri’act develops, transforms and commercializes materials with a low CO2 footprint through the formulation and processing of recycled, bio-sourced and carbon-capturing materials. Its sustainable products include recycled and bio-based compounds, bio-based foils, low CO2 carbon fibers and green steel that find uses in the automotive industry and beyond, like aerospace, construction and sporting goods.

Forvia reports that its bio-based carbon fibers provide customers with high stiffness, tensile strength, chemical resistance, high-temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion. They will initially be used for the production of hydrogen tanks.

Its recycled and bio-based compounds are suited for injection molding and can be tailored to meet various performance requirements. 

Photo credit: Materi’act 

Tanks that address heavy-duty hydrogen mobility needsForvia also presented its XL Tank, which can store more than 20 kilograms of gaseous hydrogen under 700-bar pressure. It also is capable of reaching 1,000+ kilometer autonomy, and recharges from 0% to 100% autonomy in less than 15 minutes, by refueling in a hydrogen station.

The XL Tank’s design allows for easy vehicle integration, making it a valuable solution for installing on new chassis or retrofitting existing vehicle fleets to zero emission. Several customers, including e-Neo, have already put their trust in the XL-Tank. Product deliveries will start from 2024.

Enhancing vehicle repair efficiencyHella Gutmann Solutions (Ihringen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany), a subsidiary of the Forvia Group specializing in sophisticated vehicle diagnostics workshop equipment and services, has succeeded in automating one of the most common activities in automotive workshops, fault diagnostic, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data technology. This automation of fault diagnostics noticeably increases the overall efficiency of vehicle repairs.

The Automatic Diagnostics function covers 17 languages and is available at no additional cost to all workshops across 24 countries using a current diagnostic device from Hella Gutmann Solutions. As part of the automatic function, the vehicle identification number (VIN) is automatically determined, stored fault codes are read out and their relevance evaluated, actual and target values in the system parameters are compared and around two billion data records of historically performed diagnostic cases are consulted. This process chain runs automatically in less than five minutes and ends with the cause of the fault being narrowed down to a specific component.

Photo credit: Forvia combined general meeting May 2023

“These awards reflect Forvia’s relentless commitment to driving innovation and sustainability in the automotive industry, whether through groundbreaking technologies for zero-emission mobility and services as well as sustainable materials, at the service of our customers and end-users,” Christophe Aufrère, CTO at Forvia, says. “This recognition fuels our determination to continue leading the way on safer and more sustainable mobility.”

Publication date: 15/11/2023

Composites World (Products)

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31