September 28, 2012
Ford to get even greener 0
Ford is one of the leaders within the automotive industry when it comes to adopting environmentally friendly ways of working. Nowadays we don’t go too long before we hear of Ford taking on yet another greener method of car production.
This time round Ford is working on using natural fibre materials. They have joined forces with Weyerhaeuser in order to develop applications for natural fibre materials. They are firstly looking at using tree fibre which is called cellulose. This will go into plastic composites that are used within car production. Cellouse will help the carbon dioxide emissions as well as the car’s overall weight, which will also help improve the performance of the car. This material would effectively replace fibreglass and mineral reinforcements.
The new material is taken from harvested trees which have been long established. Research by Ford has proven that Cellouse is strong enough to survive within an everyday automobile.
Using natural fibres helps increase the speed of car production. Ford estimate that figure to be up to 40 per cent. Less time producing cars will also mean less energy being used and will therefore benefit the environment.
Ford and Weyerhaeuser are working towards developing sustainable material for future vehicle components. Saving costs the environment as well as making vehicles more sustainable is the main priority.
Weyerhaeuser are one of the largest forest companies in the world. They have over 20 million acres of woodland. Ford could not have found a better partner to join with. They want to discover new ways of developing environmentally friendly car components without the need for petrol or fibreglass. An announcement from Ford’s plastic research technical expert, Dr Lee said “We have found that Weyerhaeuser’s cellulose-based plastic composite materials meet [our] stringent requirements for stiffness, durability and temperature resistance. Further, components weigh about 10 percent less and can be produced 20 to 40 percent faster and with less energy when made with cellulose-based materials compared with fibreglass-based materials. These weight and process savings can enable equivalent or reduced component costs. “
This is not the first time that Ford has sought using rare earth materials within their cars. They are currently using soybean based cushion within the vehicles in order to save petrol and maximise fuel efficiency.