Asahi Kasei, in collaboration with one of its companies, Sage Automotive Interiors Inc., which specializes in innovative and functional materials for vehicle interiors, has entered into a strategic partnership with the American start-up NFW. In doing so, the company aims to take another important step towards reducing the environmental impact of a car's life cycle. The US start-up NFW has developed a process technology for the production of natural leather, foam and textiles to replace animal and petroleum-based materials. Mirum, the company's patented leather alternative, is certified as 100% bio-based by the US Department of Agriculture and is made from natural rubber, natural fibers, vegetable oils, natural pigments and minerals. The material is said to offer superior durability and quality that can replace traditional animal or synthetic leather products without the use of polyurethane or other coatings.
The collaboration with NFW is the first project of Asahi Kasei's "Care for Earth" investment program. Until 2027, the company will provide up to 100 million dollars to invest in start-ups worldwide that are solving problems in environmental areas such as hydrogen, energy storage, carbon management and bio-based chemicals. The business with materials for vehicle interiors is one of the company's 10 Growth Gears (GG10).