Recycling components is nothing new in the automotive industry, but GM is taking the concept a step further by getting rid of some 100 miles of coated oil booms from last summer’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill and recycling them for use in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.
The project is expected to create enough material for use in under the hood components, primarily for plastic radiator parts that help improve airflow around the car for the entire first year production of the Volt, which is pegged at approximately 10,000 cars.
GM has worked with several companies to get the project underway, including Heritage Environmental, which collects the boom material from the Louisiana coastline; Mobile Fluid Recovery which literally spin dries the boom material, removing oil and other coatings, ready for diecast mold production; Lucent Polymers, which preps the material and finally, GM’s Tier I supplier, GDC which manufactures the pieces ready for installation on the Volt at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit.
“Creative recycling is one extension of GM’s overall strategy to reduce its environmental impact,” noted Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety policy during a press conference. “We reuse and recycle material by-products at our 76 landfill-free facilities every day. This is a good example of using this expertise and applying it to a greater magnitude.”
It’s also another notch on the belt for a car that’s already become a darling among the eco set; recently the Green Car Journal named the 2011 Volt its car of the year.