Ford is investigating a new renewable resource that it could use in its vehicles and it comes from an unlikely source.
Tomatoes, or more specifically, tomato fibers are being investigated to see if they are a feasible source to create a composite material for use in automotive manufacturing. The American brand says that it could use dried tomato skins to make wiring brackets or small storage bins for Ford vehicles.
Ford along with the H.J. Heinz company have teamed up on this research, devising a plan that would see Ford using discarded tomato skins, seeds and stems from Heinz, left over after the tomatoes have been processed and used to make ketchup.
Ford is working towards creating a fully plant-based composite plastic that could be used in its vehicles, and it has tapped a number of companies, including Heinz, Coca-Cola, Nike and Procter & Gamble, to help them develop it.
“We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” said Ellen Lee, plastics research technical specialist for Ford. “Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.”
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