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Ford is Making Car Parts Out Of Carbon Emissions

May 20, 2016 03:36 AM EDT
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Ford is creating new car foams and plastic components using carbon dioxide captured during its operations, said Ford executive chairman Bill Ford during a recently-held summit about energy, technology and sustainability.

The bio-foam, which is still undergoing testing, is made of carbon dioxide, one of the most pervasive greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The CO2-based material will be used in making car seat cushions and engine parts for Ford vehicles within the next five years.

"It's really been interesting to try and come up with new ways to solve environmental solutions," Ford said in an interview with Fortune. "What's really cool is all this technology is enabling solutions that even two or three years ago wasn't possible," he added.

The captured carbon dioxide for Ford's biomaterials is one of the company's will be adding to the company's collection of other renewable and sustainable materials, which already include products made of soy, tomato peels, wheat straw, coconut fiber, and many others.

By using products with up to 50% CO2-based polyols, Ford could potentially minimize petroleum use by over 600 million pounds of oil per year, which is enough to fill nearly 35,000 American homes. More so, this movement could inspire other automakers to do the same in their productions. 

In 2013, Ford had started partnering with several companies, suppliers and universities to find uses for the captured CO2. Ford has partnered with Novomer, a New York-based company that captures carbon dioxide produced by manufacturing plants, which will provide the automaker with the waste material for its foam production.

Henry Ford's vision of bringing agriculture into industry is actually coming to life. In 2007, Ford's research facility has integrated soy materials into cushions, seatbacks and headrests on every Ford vehicle sold in the United States. Eventually, the research group has learned how to use a wide range of waste materials in Ford cars, like tree fibers, wheat straw, shredded paper, and many more.

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