Students in the Netherlands have created the Lina, a car that is intentionally biodegradable. The TU/Ecomotive team at the Eindhoven University of Technology created the body shell of the car from a resin processed from sugar beets and covered with woven flax, resulting in a material as strong as fiberglass. The Lina’s stiffness and structure come from body panels containing a honeycomb structure that is placed between two sheets of flax composite. The four-seater car is electric with a maximum range of 62 miles on a full charge. The Lina is very lightweight, at only 683 pounds, making it more efficient than the Nissan Leaf.
The Lina was designed to demonstrate how biodegradable materials could be used in car production in the future, when electric car batteries’ lifespans increase. Biodegradable materials may offer an alternative to other lightweight components, such as aluminium and carbon fiber, that require a lot of production energy to manufacture. This project also highlights how the mix of different metals and materials that are currently being used to manufacture vehicles has complicated recycling operations that reprocess and reuse materials, and encourage new mining rather than recycling.