Ford develops sustainable foam and plastic vehicle components

These biomaterials are formulated with up to 50 percent CO2-based polyols.

0 May 19, 2016
Staff

Ford is pushing towards sustainable and environmentally-friendly technology with its development of new foam and plastic parts using carbon dioxide (CO2) as the feedstock.

Ford Motor Company is the first automaker to formulate and test new foam and plastic components using carbon dioxide as feedstock. Researchers expect to see the new biomaterials in Ford production vehicles within five years. Formulated with up to 50 percent CO2-based polyols, the foam is showing promise as it meets rigorous automotive test standards. It could be employed in seating and underhood applications, potentially reducing petroleum use by more than 600 million pounds annually – enough to fill nearly 35,000 American homes. CO2-derived foam will further reduce the use of fossil fuels in Ford vehicles and increase the presence of sustainable foam in the automaker’s global lineup.

Ford Motor Company has formulated and tested new foam and plastic components using carbon dioxide as feedstock. 

These biomaterials are formulated with up to 50 percent CO2-based polyols and are expected to be in production vehicles in the next five years.

The automaker explains the foam meets rigorous automotive test standards, showing great promise and endless possibilities. It can be used in seating and underhood applications. The benefits include potentially reducing petroleum use by more than 600 million pounds annually.

Ford began working with several companies, suppliers and universities in 2013 to find applications for captured CO2. Among them is Novomer – a New York-based company that utilizes carbon dioxide captured from manufacturing plants to produce innovative materials. Through a system of conversions, Novomer produces a polymer than can be formulated into a variety of materials including foam and plastic that are easily recyclable.

“Novomer is excited by the pioneering work Ford has completed with our Converge CO2-based polyols,” said Peter Shepard, Novomer chief business officer.

The auto manufacturer’s push to develop more sustainable technology has spanned several decades and is the driving factor behind this development. Carbon emissions and climate change are of growing concern to world leaders as a staggering 2.4 million pounds of CO2 are released into the atmosphere globally per second. CO2-derived foam will reduce the use of fossil fuels in Ford vehicles and increase the presence of sustainable foam in the automaker’s global lineup.

“Ford is working aggressively to lower its environmental impact by reducing its use of petroleum-based plastic and foam,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader of sustainability.

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.

“At Ford, we’re aggressively developing new, more sustainable ways to produce high-quality products, with an eye toward preserving and improving our world,” said Mielewski.

www.ford.com

 


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