Sweet! Potato Cars from Toyota

OK, maybe not whole cars but at least components of them, such as the floor mats and spare wheel cover in the Toyota Raum. Well to be truthful these are currently made from their Eco-Plastic, which seems to be derived from the starch of of renewable crops like kenaf, sugar cane and corn. But they are investigating sweet potatoes from Indonesia. They absorbs CO2 while growing and can be composted after useful life. And also yield up useful Polylactic acid or PLA (see story on Ingeo) making it suitable for plastic production. The sweet potato based plastic might get a run their ES3 concept car however (shown here). Toyota report that the global bioplastics market is just 20,000 tonnes annually, but they reckon as much as 30 million tonnes of the total annual plastics demand of 150 million tonnes could be replaced by bioplastics. In view of that potential, Toyota aims to increase production to 20 million tonnes with a potential sales value of five trillion Yen. They also say that the "cost of the process, is only marginally greater than for conventional petroleum-based plastics." The report we saw did not mention if the crop is genetically modified. Via New Car Net. ::Toyota Ecoplastic and ::Toyota on Sweet Potato. [by WM]http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/more_than_cars/bio_afforest/satsumaimo.html