With gasoline rising to over $4 a gallon, car manufacturers are increasingly looking at renewable sources of energy to produce and power their vehicles. While plant material has been used as a resource for years, Ford is now looking at dandelions to manufacture its car components (that are currently made from petroleum- based plastic).
The project, which is developed in collaboration with Ohio State University, will use Taraxacum kok-saghyz -- more commonly known as Russian dandelion -- to produce a milky-white substance that can be used as a sustainable resource for rubber or a plastics modifier. If the materials produced meet quality standards, Ford will use them for floor mats, cupholders and interior trim pieces.
Ford has long used alternative materials for its car components– including soy for some car parts in the 1920s to recycled cotton from blue jeans as sound-dampening material and the company is also currently investigating making rubber from guayule, a shrub common to the Southwest.
For all of Ford’s efforts though, the E.P.A., has ranked Ford at the bottom end of all major automakers in terms of its overall vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions for 2008-10 model-year vehicles. Clearly, Ford has work to do on overall emissions – but at least this is a step in the right direction.
Via NY Times