Ford, after working with other companies and universities, is taking the next environmentally-friendly leap to include biomaterials in vehicles.
By using excess CO2 to create high-quality plastics and foam, the company will use such materials in vehicle seats and under the hood.
The change to green vehicular materials will reduce carbon emissions. 2.4 million pounds of CO2 are released globally in one second, presenting a threat to the climate and atmosphere. In order to reduce global warming, Ford hopes to change the plastic manufacturing process, which accounts for almost 4% of oil use globally. The automobile industry currently uses petroleum-based plastic and foam.
The new materials are stated to have as high as 50% polyols (alcohol-based chemical structures) with CO2 attachments by mass. Ideally, Ford’s production methods will not only influence other vehicular companies but reduce petroleum use by over 600 million pounds in a year. It would be wise for other companies to take on this approach, being that the materials are also easily recyclable.
Ford already has renewable and sustainable materials that include soy, tomato peels, wheat straw, and coconut fiber, to name a few products.
The CO2 research process started in 2013 when Ford began working with multiple companies such as Novomer in order to understand how excess CO2 can be used in practical applications. Novomer specializes in green chemistry applications, and produces CO2-based polyols that originally begin as waste from manufacturing plants.
As Bill Ford expressed, “It’s really been interesting to try and come up with new ways to solve environmental solutions. What’s really cool is all this technology is enabling solutions that even two or three years ago wasn’t possible.” The CO2-polymer additions to Ford’s sustainable material base may represent a changing industry that will reduce carbon emissions, effectively eliminating waste with no environmental applications.