Renewable Materials in Automotive Production



1: Technology utilizing plant-based materials in production of cars

  • Ford was the first car manufacture to use soy-based foam in seat cushions and backs
  • Renewable Materials include:
    • soybeans, cotton, wood, flax, jute, and natural rubber
  • Use of these materials helps to create a new market and additional revenue for of agricultural products
  • Current primary use of renewable’s in the car industry is in soy foam, plant oil applications, and natural-fiber-reinforced plastics

2: Problem Renewable Materials Solve

  • Technology leads to a reduction of:
    • carbon dioxide emissions
    • vehicle weight; leading to fuel efficiency and lower emissions
    • petroleum use
    • energy needed in manufacturing process
    • commodity & production costs
  • Soy foam use at Ford has reduced petroleum use by 15 million pounds
  • Plant-based castor oil reduces scrap in production due to improved flow and reduces production time by 40%
  • Use of Kenaf, a tropical plant, reduces the weight of a Ford Escape door by 25%

3: Plant-Based Vehicle Production Stakeholders

  • Car manufactures; Ford, etc
  • Consumers of vehicles
  • Farmers and other suppliers of the plant material
  • Partnerships for future development with other organizations:
    • Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance
    • Plant PET Technology Collaboration
    • Heinz Company
    • Ohio State University Research Center

4: Implementing Renewable Material Technology

  • Test sustainable bio material for durability, safety, and performance
  • Once tests prove that material is reliable as a “no-compromise” solution then development of mass production capability should be executed
  • Educating the public and cross-sharing the knowledge with other manufactures will help to spread awareness and lead to a behavior change in the automotive industry



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