Ford is on the fast lane when it comes to developing car parts made of sustainable materials instead of petrochemicals.
The automaker’s latest idea? Teaming up with tequila maker Jose Cuervo. The two companies are exploring ways to use agave plants to develop a sustainable bioplastic material, like the key chain shown above.
Jose Cuervo produces agave fiber as a byproduct of making its tequila – and they have a lot of it. Ford researchers are experimenting with ways to incorporate it into car parts like wiring harnesses and storage bins.
So far, Ford says the fiber’s durability and heat resistance is showing promise.
“There are about 400 pounds of plastic on a typical car,” said Debbie Mielewksi with Ford’s sustainability research department. “Our job is to find the right place for a green composite like this to help our impact on the planet.”
Biomaterials like these aren’t just better for the planet. They’re also lighter than ones traditionally made with petrochemicals. That equals better fuel economy.
Ford already uses eight sustainable-based materials in its vehicles including soy foam, castor oil, wheat straw, kenaf fiber, cellulose, wood, coconut fiber and rice hulls. Ford first used soy foam seats in the 2008 Ford Mustang.
The automaker recently held an event in Dallas to showcase some of these sustainable efforts. It challenged Mudhen Meat and Greens Chef Suki Otsuki to create plates made with soy beans, coconut, agave, dandelion greens, tomatoes and wheat. Dishes included hummus, heirloom tomatoes with dandelion green pesto and coconut rice.