Tue 24 May 2016
Over the years there have been many new materials developed for the automotive industry or developed by other industries and adopted by the automotive industry. Many get dropped by the wayside like the early uses of hemp. Others have remained firmly rooted and have remained a staple to the industry for years. Recently Ford announced it’s latest direction in automotive materials. Captured CO2 based foams and plastics.
In a statement to the press Ford claims that its “Foams [are] formulated with up to 50 percent CO2-based polyols [and] could reduce petroleum use by more than 600 million pounds annually”. This statement made on May 17, 2016 states the intention of Ford to have this new product in its production vehicles in 5 years.
This announcement doesn’t mark the first use by Ford of more conservation minded materials. For nearly two decades, researchers have worked successfully to develop sustainable materials for Ford products. In North America, soy foam is in every
Ford vehicle. Coconut fiber backs trunk liners; recycled tires and soy are in mirror gaskets; recycled T-shirts and denim go into carpeting; and recycled plastic bottles become REPREVE fabric used in the 2016 F-150.
What does make this a little different is that it is finding a use for one of major waste products of manufacturing, CO2 gas. A staggering 2.4 million pounds of CO2 are released into the atmosphere globally per second, Ford captures this gas and is working to convert it into a usable product. Two thumbs up for an innovated use of a waste product.
One point I didn’t see mentioned in the press release though. What happens when this product is eventually disposed of. Does it degrade and get released into the atmosphere thus only postponing the polluting and greenhouse effects? Does it become a permanent additin to our landfills like most other plastic products. Time will tell.