Ford focuses on environmental impact

Ford Motor Company is teaming up with Jose Cuervo to explore the use of the tequila producer’s agave plant by-product to develop more sustainable bioplastics.

They are testing the bioplastic for use in vehicle interior and exterior components such as wiring harnesses, heating, ventilation and air conditioning units and storage bins. Success in developing a sustainable composite could reduce vehicle weight and lower energy consumption.

Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability research department, said, ‘At Ford, we aim to reduce our impact on the environment. As a leader in the sustainability space, we are developing new technologies to efficiently employ discarded materials and fibres, while potentially reducing the use of petrochemicals and light-weighting our vehicles for desired fuel economy.’

Sonia Espinola, director of heritage for Cuervo Foundation and master tequilera, added, ‘Jose Cuervo is proud to be working with Ford to further develop our agave sustainability plan. This collaboration brings two great companies together to develop innovative, earth-conscious materials.’

The collaboration with Jose Cuervo is the latest example of Ford’s approach to product and environmental stewardship through the use of biomaterials. Ford began researching the use of sustainable materials in its vehicles in 2000. It now uses eight sustainable-based materials in its vehicles including soy foam, castor oil, wheat straw, kenaf fibre, cellulose, wood, coconut fibre and rice hulls.

Debbie concluded, ‘There are about 400 pounds of plastic on a typical car. Our job is to find the right place for a green composite to help our impact on the planet. It is work that I’m really proud of, and it could have a broad impact across numerous industries.’