Pedal to the flax: Dutch students present first biodegradable car (VIDEO)

Pedal to the flax: Dutch students present first biodegradable car (VIDEO)
Students from Eindhoven University of Technology unveiled the world’s first biocomposite car, called ‘Lina,’ at the campus in Eindhoven on Wednesday.

“We have developed a material, bio-based material, based on plant flax that we use as structure on the car. So the complete chassis, the body of the car and the interior are made of bio-based materials,” Team Manager Quinten Oostvogel told Ruptly.

Lina’s go-to material, flax, or Linum usitatissimum, grows almost everywhere in Europe.

“The plant has very strong and long fibres that we can use in our composites and together with bio-based core from sugar beets, we were able to build a complete chassis of the car from bio-based materials,” Oostvogel continued.

The car is electric-powered, and its lightweight materials (Lina weighs only 300 kilograms) means it uses up energy more slowly. On the flip side, more energy is used to produce the car – a potential turn-off for car manufacturers.

“Manufacturers tend to be reticent with these sorts of experiments in house. But I’m sure they will be keeping a close eye on what the students are doing,” Carlo van de Weijer, president of TomTom Traffic Solutions, told NOS.

The next step for Lina and the design team is to try and obtain a license number for the car, which will enable her to be driven on public roads.

In 2011, designers Kenneth Cobonpue and Albrecht Birkner presented The Phoenix, a roadster made of bamboo and rattan. Designed to last roughly five years, The Phoenix never made it into mass production.