Sustainable Industry Awards: “Seat for the Planet” wins the eco-design trophy
At the 2023 edition of the Sustainable Industry Awards (“Trophées de l’Industrie Durable” in French – an initiative by the French newspaper L’Usine Nouvelle), FORVIA received an eco-design trophy for “Seat for the Planet” – one of the Group’s flagship innovations in the fields of sustainability and circular economy.
Unlike conventional seats composed of 100 to 150 components, “Seat for the Planet” comprises a mere ten modules.
“Modules are easily detachable and recyclable. They are either single-material, made from bio-sourced or recycled materials, or from materials that are compatible for recycling," explains Marthin Frétigné, Project Manager, referring to steel and plastics, PET in particular – a greater or lesser proportion of which comes from recycling.
Another key challenge was to replace polyurethane – a polymer often found in comfort parts, very popular among automotive engineers for its many technical qualities. “This material performs well but is very difficult to recycle” adds Marthin. “So we had to replace it with a technical solution called Auraloop®, incorporating high-performance PET combined with a new transformation process”.
More than two years after the launch of the project, the product, which is planned to equip B and C segment vehicles, is set to be a game-changer for car wreckers. “Today only 50% of a seat's steel is recovered, and most often recycled into materials of lesser value. The rest - foam, textiles, etc. - is at best incinerated. Thanks to the design of our seat, end-of-life vehicle centers will be able to dismantle them easily and develop a circular materials economy.” Three pre-developments are currently underway.
This circular economy approach is a key element of FORVIA’s overall 2045 Net Zero roadmap.
The “Seat for the planet” project is part of the DECORE consortium, alongside Renault, CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and MTB Recycling. Its objective is to design cockpits using 40% recycled materials, with a CO2 impact reduced by 85% by 2030. The consortium is a winner of BPI France's future investments program.
Auraloop® is a partnership between Faurecia and Indorama Ventures, one of the world leaders in PET production and recycling.