Already Crunchy Ford Goes Even More Vegan
Always the innovator in creating car parts out of plants that aren’t trees, Ford Motor Company plans to burnish its green cred with a new building material: a composite created partly from dried coffee bean husks.
Following the automaker’s soybean experiments of the early 1940s, Ford adopted soybean-based foam for its seat cushions back in 2008. Now, coffee chaff will help add strength and lower energy use for the manufacture of headlight housings and other components. Its supplier partner on this project? McDonalds.
“The companies found that chaff can be converted into a durable material to reinforce certain vehicle parts. By heating the chaff to high temperatures under low oxygen, mixing it with plastic and other additives and turning it into pellets, the material can be formed into various shapes,” the automaker said in a statement Wednesday.
The process of roasting coffee separates the skin from the bean, after which it is discarded. Millions of pounds of the stuff then sits around, being of no use to anyone. McDonalds — which brews a far better cup of coffee than Tim Horton’s, by the way, and how about that sausage-and-egg McMuffin? Damn! — now expects to funnel much of its coffee waste to Ford.
“Like McDonald’s, Ford is committed to minimizing waste and we’re always looking for innovative ways to further that goal,” said Ian Olson, Mickey D’s senior director of global sustainability. “By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy.”
Already, such headlamp housings are going into the doomed Lincoln Continental, but their use will proliferate throughout the brand. Ford’s other partners on this effort are Varroc Lighting Systems, which supplies the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies, which processes the coffee chaff.
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- Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
- Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
- FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
- Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
- FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.