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Ford Makes Automotive Parts From New Polymer Plastics

For the past four years, Ford and a manufacturer have been cooperating to develop foams made from carbon dioxide. Soon, they began to study plastics made of carbon dioxide. This plastic can replace petroleum product parts.

This will reduce 600 million tons of oil consumption each year. Debbie Mielewski, Ford’s senior director of sustainable technologies, said: “Normally a car needs 30 pounds of foam and 300 pounds of plastic, and now 10% of a car is made of plastic. We are trying to replace metals with plastics to achieve the goal of lightweighting and saving fuel, so the proportion of plastics in cars will increase year by year."

New plastics will be used on pillows, armrests, doors, and mats. The new carbon dioxide plastic will also be used for the production of rigid plastics for other parts of the car.

Ford has been working on the development of alternative materials for the past 15 years. Soybean foam has been used in every car and truck in North America. Coconut fiber is also used in truck linings. Recycling clothes and plastic bottles are used in foot pads and other fabrics.

As soon as new materials are introduced, Ford will face doubts. Milevski said: "This is the fourth time our team has been questioned." At first, Ford tried to develop new materials with 50% carbon dioxide, but the effect was not satisfactory. After years of cooperation with universities and manufacturers, today's new plastics look like ordinary plastics and pass Ford's screening tests.

Milevski said that some of the carbon dioxide products come from pollutants in the air, but at present these pollutants mainly come from power plants. “The best way to collect them is to collect them from the dense exhaust stream, otherwise the exhaust gas will still Diffused into the environment. Collecting exhaust gases from the atmosphere will consume more energy."

The full-scale promotion of this new technology will require a five-year inspection period. New suppliers and polymer maker Novomer will also upgrade their existing production facilities. However, in the long run, Ford may completely eliminate the petroleum products in auto parts. Milevski said: "We have achieved so many breakthroughs in this area in a short period of time. We believe that every plastic part of the car is more environmentally friendly, greener, and can find the most suitable raw materials to manufacture these parts.

Ford is also slowly looking for alternatives to fossil fuels. Although the company currently has only one electric car, it plans to add 13 electric cars by 2020.

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