Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ford's Flower Powered Green Innovation

Ford is working with Ohio State University to use dandelion juice for the interior trim of its vehicles. Ford is researching the use of the sustainable material as a modifier in car trimmings like floor mats, doors, and cup holders.

Ford is a leader in using sustainable materials to power and outfit their cars. The car manufacturer already uses soy foam to make seat cushions, wheat straw-filled plastic to form interior trim, and recycled cotton from blue jeans to create sound-dampening material.

Now Ford is looking into adding flower power to their list of sustainable materials. The Ford-Ohio team is also looking into using a shrub called guayule, as another source of sustainable car parts.

“We're always looking for new sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint to produce and can be grown locally,” said Angela Harris, a Ford research engineer. “Synthetic rubber is not a sustainable resource, so we want to minimize its use in our vehicles when possible.”

Ford is growing a Russian dandelion, called Taraxacum kok-soghyz to enhance the impact strength of plastic parts found in cars. “It's strange to see weeds being grown in perfectly manicured rows in a greenhouse, but these dandelions could be the next sustainable material in our vehicles,” Harris added.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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