Ford investigates the use of Retired Money as Green Alternative to Petroleum

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(Best Syndication News) - Ford uses recycled materials to build their automobiles and plans for more in the future because of the rising cost of petroleum. Currently the automaker uses soybeans, denim, Kenaf, plastic bottles, and recycled tires in their vehicles. The company is looking into using retired currency, dandelions, coconuts, and corn stalks, and sugar cane for their vehicles.

Currently, Ford uses a soybean-based foam material for their seat cushions, seat backs, and head restraints. By using the soybean-based product, they estimate saving around 5 million pounds of petroleum yearly. Old used tires are recycled into gaskets are used in the engine on most Ford vehicles.

Denim is recycled from used jeans are used mostly as a sound deadener. Plastic bottles are used to make the seat fabric in the Focus Electric vehicles. Around 22 clear, 20-ounce plastic bottles are used for the fabric in the car.

Ford is investigating other sources of more environmentally friendly products.

Shredded money that has been retired by the US Mint could be used to make plastic parts inside the vehicle. Every day there is around 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of paper money that is retired and shredded. Over a year, around 3.6 million pounds of retired currency is pressed into bricks to go to the landfill or it is burned.

Other sources of material that could be used are dandelions, coconuts, corn stalks, and sugar cane. The Russian dandelions are being researched because they might be able to be used to make a synthetic rubber. Coconuts have a fiber byproduct on its shell that could possibly be used to reinforce molded plastics. Corn stalks, sugar beets, and sugar cane can be used to make a biodegradable plastic.

Dr. Debbie Mielewski, technical leader of Ford’s Materials Research and Innovation team, said “We have been working with an ever-increasing list of collaborators – chemical companies, universities, suppliers and others – to maximize efforts and develop as many robust, sustainable materials as possible for the 300 pounds of plastic on an average vehicle.”

Mielwski also explained that they are not certain if any or all the new green products that Ford is investigating will make it into their vehicles.

By: Julie Marcus
Science and Technology Writer

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