Ford and The Ohio State University are teaming up to research the use of dandelions as a possible resource to create a natural, sustainable rubber.
Online PR News – 14-May-2011 – – Ford is teaming up with The Ohio State University to research sustainable resources that will be used in the production of future Ford cars. The resource of choice is the Russian Dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz, which contains a milky-white substance in the root that can be used to produce a replacement rubber.
This rubber would be both natural and sustainable, which is a dramatic change from the synthetic rubbers that are currently being used. Ford’s plan is to potentially use the resource as a plastic modifier in cupholders, floor mats, and interior trim.
Researchers are able to grow this particular dandelion at The Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). Before the replacement rubber is used, it will be assessed by Ford researchers to ensure the quality of the materials produced and guarantee that it meets durability standards.
Dandelions are not the only way Ford is looking to reduce its carbon footprint. Petroleum-based foams have been replaced with soy foam on many Ford vehicles. This has helped the automaker reduce its petroleum oil usage by over 3 million pounds annually.
Ford is also experimenting with wheat straw, a byproduct of growing and processing wheat. Wheat straw is usually discarded, but the company is looking into using it to reinforce the plastic in the storage bins of the Ford Flex. Wheat straw plastic is odorless and weighs up to 10% less than talc or glass-reinforced plastic, while still indicating better integrity than non-reinforced plastic.
Over the last few years, Ford has shown great strides towards reducing its carbon footprint, increasing its use of sustainable resources, and developing fuel-efficient vehicle technologies.
For more information about Ford’s commitment to reduce, reuse, and recycle, stop by Cambridge Classic Ford to speak with a member of our knowledgeable sales team.