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Ford Using Captured Carbon to Make Plastic Car Parts

Ford logoFord is developing new foam and plastic car components made from carbon dioxide. It expects the new biomaterials, produced by Novomer and still undergoing testing, will be in Ford production vehicles within the next five years.

The foam, made with up to 50 percent CO2-based polyols, could be used in seating and underhood applications. This could reduce petroleum use by more than 600 million pounds annually, Ford says.

Ford began working with several companies, suppliers and universities in 2013 to find uses for captured CO2. Among them is Novomer, a New York-based company that utilizes carbon dioxide captured from manufacturing plants to produce materials. Through a system of conversions, Novomer produces a polymer than can be formulated into a variety of recyclable materials including foam and plastic.

Plastic manufacturing accounts for nearly 4 percent of the world’s oil use, according to British Plastic Federation. Ford says it hopes this new bioplastic will help achieve the long-term goals to reduce global warming set in the Paris climate agreement.

The automaker uses other sustainable materials in its products. In North America, soy foam is in every Ford vehicle. Coconut fiber backs trunk liners; recycled tires and soy are in mirror gaskets; recycled T-shirts and denim go into carpeting; and recycled plastic bottles become Repreve fabric used in the 2016 F-150.

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