Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd. and Toray Industries, Inc. announced on January 13, 2005 that they have jointly developed the world’s first large personal computer cases made of environmentally friendly bioplastics. The plastic is used in Fujitsu’s spring 2005 model FMV-BIBLO NB80K notebook computers.
The material contains polylactic acid and is a bioplastic made from lactic acid derived from fermented starches and sugars from corn and potatoes. To use this plant-based material in computer cases and find further applications, the three companies have been working together to improve its heat and flame resistance. They faced difficulties, however, in using it in large cases and for mass production, due to the problems with molding the desired shapes, as it would turn from a hard glassy state to rubbery state at unacceptably low temperatures.
Since about 50 percent of the newly-developed plastic consists of natural materials, it can reduce the consumption of petroleum resources. When used in the case of notebook computers, it can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 15 percent over the entire product life-cycle, compared to conventional petroleum-based resins.
Bioplastics seem to be taking off. While we have to address transportation to get a firmer grasp on our oil addiction, these as meaningful steps in the right direction that ought to pay off for companies like Fujitsu.