Solvay ups the ante; innovates all-plastic car engine

Solvay as a group caters to pioneering developments such as the Solar Impulse 2 non-fossil fuel powered aircraft, with over 6,000 parts in the aircraft made from the Belgian chemical firm’s materials, said Luke Du, General Manager of Greater China and Southeast Asia, Solvay Specialty Polymers.

Speaking to journalists at a Media Day event organised by Chinaplas 2015 organiser Adsale Exhibitions, Du introduced the “wonderful” polymer portfolio from Solvay that is able to provide solutions, some in line with the featured green and automotive themes at Chinaplas

With the Solar Impulse 2 set for its maiden flight this year, Solvay is grounding itself and utilising its materials for the development of the Polimotor 2 all-plastic automotive engine. The latter will be tested in a race car next year, demonstrating the company’s speciality polymer technologies in light-weighting through metal replacement.

The collaborative project is said to set the stage for innovative breakthroughs in future commercial automobiles.

Automotive engines typically are made entirely of metal and are the single heaviest part in a car. Polimotor 2 aims to develop an engine weighing 63-67 kg, or 41 kg less than today’s standard production engine.

“The Polimotor project is yet another pioneering opportunity for Solvay Specialty Polymers to bring its innovations to the forefront and to expand its lightweighting offerings," said Du. “Through this partnership we will further challenge our boundaries, showing all the more that our high-performance polymers are solutions in reducing weight and lowering fuel consumption, and that they are a key contributor in diminishing CO2 emissions.”

In Polimotor 2, Solvay will replace up to ten metal engine components – including the water pump, oil pump, water inlet/outlet, throttle body, fuel rail, cam sprockets and others – with parts made from seven of its materials. These include Torlon PAI, Amodel PPA, KetaSpire PEEK, AvaSpire PAEK, Radel PPSU, Ryton PPS and Tecnoflon VPL fluoroelastomers.

The Polimotor 2 four-cylinder double-overhead CAM engine will be installed in a Norma M-20 concept car in 2016 for competitive racing at Lime Rock Park, US.

Solvay also played a part in the development of the first Polimotor engine, conceived by US engineer Matti Holtzberg in the early 1980s.


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