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Ford Explorer Gets Soy-Based Cushions

Ford Motor Company announced the 2011 Ford Explorer will feature soy foam in seat cushions and seatbacks. The bio-based polyurethane foam will be one of the new features in the Ford Explorer which goes in to production later this year.

The model is also expected to feature a 25 percent increase in fuel efficiency. Ford recently announced that it reduced the CO2 emissions of its 2009 U.S. models by 5 percent compared with its 2008 models.

The company said the use of biofoam products in its models has helped it reduce its petroleum oil consumption by 3 million pounds. Biofoam is up to 24 percent more renewable than petroleum-based foam. The use of soy foam also has helped Ford reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million pounds as the biomaterial provides a 67 percent reduction in volatile organic compounds emissions.

The 2011 Explorer will be the 23rd model to feature biofoam in its interior. The company said the material will be included in every model line by the end of the year. The company first began using biofoam in its automobiles in 2008. The company said the new Explorer will also feature additional green features which it has not disclosed yet.

“Soy foam is just the tip of the iceberg in the development of vehicle materials from natural resources,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford polymer technical leader. “We have to entertain the thought of bio-replacement in baby steps, looking at every aspect of a car that could be green. One day I hope to see the automotive world go totally compostable, removing the use of petroleum-based parts 100 percent.”

The company is currently surveying 35 of their top global suppliers on their energy use and estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in an effort to reduce carbon emissions, and is measuring emissions of their products and supply chains by testing a new global framework that is part of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative.

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