Ford Motor Company is teaming up with Jose Cuervo® to explore the use of the tequila producer’s agave plant byproduct to develop more sustainable bioplastics to employ in Ford vehicles.
Ford and Jose Cuervo are testing the bioplastic for use in vehicle interior and exterior components such as wiring harnesses, HVAC units and storage bins. Initial assessments suggest the material holds great promise due to its durability and aesthetic qualities. Success in developing a sustainable composite could reduce vehicle weight and lower energy consumption, while paring the use of petrochemicals and the impact of vehicle production on the environment.
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Japanese chemical giant based in Tokyo, announced the development of a new grade of high-performance, high-transparency bio-based engineering plastic called DURABIOTM, using plant-derived isosorbide as its raw material. The new material features excellent optical properties and high resistance to heat and humidity.
Bio-on, an Italian company founded in 2007 to create 100% natural products based on renewable resources or agricultural processing waste materials, and Magna International Inc., a leading global automotive supplier, have signed a cooperation agreement to start exclusive R&D activities on the use of bioplastics for the automotive industry.
Bio-on has developed a new kind of bioplastic created through the use of naturally occurring bacteria which feed off sugar beet by-products. In the process of fermentation, the material is turned into plastic (polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA). The result is fully biodegradable in water and soil, an environmentally friendly product that does not rely on food as a natural resource and could provide alternatives to conventional plastics for the automotive industry.
The US Center for Automotive Research (CAR) announced Thursday that it will be the lead agency in a $1.47 million grant under the federal “Make It In America Challenge” to boost the use of bio-based materials in cars. Partners in the effort include the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, the Macomb-St. Clair Workforce Development Board and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences.
“Our project, ‘Building Capacity and Capability in the Bio-Based Materials Manufacturing Sector,’ will build and expand on this distinctive combination of assets to support job creation and attraction of domestic and foreign direct investment in the agricultural manufacturing sector, as well as greater development of a supply chain for bio-material products to support the U.S. automotive industry,” said Kim Hill, director of the Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies group and project lead at CAR.