Ford Motor Company, an American multinational automaker, has recently joined hands with Jose Cuervo, a more than 220-year-old,renowned Tequila maker based in the US,to develop car parts from the latter company’s agave plant. As per the reports, the plant by-product will help Ford in developing more eco-friendly bioplastics for its vehicles.
The bioplastic is currently under test for its use in both interior and exterior components of vehicles, including HVAC units, wiring harnesses, and storage bins.The material has been proven for its durability and appealing qualities in the initial tests.If a sustainable composite is created, it might cut vehicle weight while reducing energy consumption. It is also likely to cut the use of petrochemicals and help the environment remain safe from the production of vehicles.
Ford senior technical leader, Debbie Mielewski, sustainability research department, affirmed, “At Ford, we aim to reduce our impact on the environment. As a leader in the sustainability space, we are developing new technologies to efficiently employ discarded materials and fibers, while potentially reducing the use of petrochemicals and light-weighting our vehicles for desired fuel economy.”
The agave plant has a growth cycle with a minimum seven-year process.When it gets reaped, the plant’s heart is roasted before grinding and extracting juices for distillation. A part of the rest of agave fibers is used by Jose Cuervo as manure for its farms. Besides, local artisans use the remains to make agave paper and crafts.
Now, with the new collaboration, these remnant fibers will be used in a new way.
Cuervo Foundation’s director of heritage and master tequilera, Sonia Espinola said, “Jose Cuervo is proud to be working with Ford to further develop our agave sustainability plan. As the world’s No. 1-selling tequila, we could never have imagined the hundreds of agave plants we were cultivating as a small family business would eventually multiply to millions. This collaboration brings two great companies together to develop innovative, earth-conscious materials.”
The latest deal shows Ford’s commitment to innovation for product manufacturing and ecological stewardship by using biomaterials. It was in 2000 when Ford started researching about using sustainable resources. The company already uses eight such materials in its automobiles, which comprise cellulose, coconut fiber,kenaf fiber, soy foam,wheat straw,rice hulls, wood, and castor oil.
The United Nations Environment Programme said that around 5 billion metric tons of agricultural biomass waste are manufactured each year. Sustainable materials can turn out to be cost-effective, thus allowing manufacturers to counteract glass fiber and talc use for lightweight and organic products.
Mielewski concluded, “There are about 400 pounds of plastic on a typical car. Our job is to find the right place for a green composite like this to help our impact on the planet. It is work that I’m really proud of, and it could have broad impact across numerous industries.”