Ford is taking a total green approach to vehicle development and design, stepping beyond just fuel efficiency and what’s under the hood and incorporating more sustainable materials. The Plastics Research Group at the automaker’s Research & Innovation Center has been developing biomaterials for almost a decade – long before it was fashionable to be “green”.
Due to their long-standing commitment in this area, Ford is currently a leader in biomaterials development for the automotive sector. With increased plastic usage and oil prices also on the rise, Ford continues to work toward the ambitious goal of substituting petroleum based plastic materials with renewable ones.
The group’s efforts have focused on soy-based polyurethane foams, natural fiber reinforced composites and polymer resins made from plant sources. In 2007, the Ford Mustang was the first vehicle to implement soy based foam on seat cushions and backs. Today, soy foam is used on nearly every Ford vehicle built in North America. Last year Ford led another bio-material technology breakthrough, the world’s first implementation of wheat straw filled plastic debuted on the Ford Flex.
At the forefront of Ford’s initiative of researching and developing emerging bio-based materials are Dr. Deborah Mielewski, Technical Leader Plastics Research, and Angela Harris, Research Engineer. Dr. Mielewski and Ms. Harris each will be giving presentations at the upcoming BioPlastek 2011 Forum on Bioplastics Today and Tomorrow. The Forum will take place on June 27-29, 2011 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
Dr. Mielewski will be discussing the corporate vision for sustainable materials and the successes achieved thus far within the company. Ms. Harris’ presentation will outline Ford’s R&D process for finding and developing novel bio-based material solutions that meet the rigorous requirements for automotive, highlighting key technical obstacles that must be overcome before widespread usage of these materials takes place.
Over 40 presentations are to be given by industry thought leaders on bioplastics ground-breaking technology and applications development during the BioPlastek 2011 Forum. Featured will be two automotive breakout sessions as well as sessions on Market Trends & Strategies, Environmental Issues, Emerging Bio-based Materials, and the Future of Bioplastics – Making it Happen.
Ford Motor Company is pleased to be contributing to this world-class forum on bioplastics.
Source: BioPlastek 2011 Forum, 2011-03-25.