Working with academic researchers and its supplier A. Schulman, Ford Motor Company, has become one of the first automaker to develop and use environmentally-friendly wheat straw-reinforced plastic in a vehicle.
The first application of the natural fiber-based plastic that contains 20 per cent wheat straw bio-filler is on the 2010 Ford Flex's third-row interior storage bins. This application alone reduces petroleum usage by some 20,000 pounds per year, reduces CO2 emissions by 30,000 pounds per year, and represents a smart, sustainable usage for wheat straw, the waste byproduct of wheat.
Wheat Straw Bio-Filled Polypropylene
Ford is advancing a strategy to migrate this bio-based material to numerous other interior, exterior and under-hood applications for multiple product lines.
Ford's sustainable materials portfolio also includes soy-based polyurethane seat cushions, seatbacks and headliners; post-industrial recycled yarns for seat fabrics; and post-consumer recycled resins for underbody systems, such as the new engine cam cover on the 2010 Ford Escape's 3.0-liter V-6 engine
"Ford continues to explore and open doors for greener materials that positively impact the environment and work well for customers," said Patrick Berryman, a Ford engineering manager who develops interior trim. "We seized the opportunity to add wheat straw-reinforced plastic as our next sustainable material on the production line, and the storage bin for the Flex was the ideal first application."