Plastics in Automotive: American Chemistry Panel at SxSW Eco

SXSW Eco is an annual conference that attracts thought leaders from around the world to explore and co-create solutions for a sustainable world. Each year the event attracts thousands of professionals to examine critical challenges of our times through a lens of design innovation, policy tipping points, technological breakthroughs, conservation practice, entrepreneurial spirit, and creativity to transform inspiration into action. Naturally, a discussion on how automakers can improve fuel efficiency in the cars of the future was a perfect fit.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) helped facilitate this discussion at a recent SxSW Eco event, preparing an exciting panel about how automakers are increasingly turning to advanced, lightweight materials in order to reach 54.5 mpg by 2025. Panelists included Robert McMahan (Professor of Physics at Kettering University), Scott Fallon (general manager of automotive marketing for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business), and Craig Blue (CEO, Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation). These experts led an informative and forward-thinking session on “The Race to 54.5 MPG,” highlighting how all factors of a vehicle’s capabilities—acceleration, handling, braking, safety, efficiency—can improve through the use of advanced, lighter materials such as carbon fiber-reinforced plastics.

“Yes, there are challenges that are facing us, but there are also incredible opportunities,” said Scott Fallon during the panel discussion. “Be it through materials or science technology engineering or through innovation, there’s a real opportunity for this industry to transform itself; to create vehicles that we want to drive, that are better for the environment, and that use new and innovative materials and systems to achieve those objectives.”

Hear more from the panelists at SxSW Eco in the videos below!