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You read that correctly. Ford Motor Company, in conjunction with Ohio State University is looking at ways dandelions can be used to produce sustainable rubber and plastic parts for automotive applications, such as floormats, cupholders and other interior trim pieces.
In fact, a particular species of Dandelion, called Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS) which originates in Russia, is deemed the most suitable, due to a white, milky substance that seeps from its roots that forms the basis for a natural rubber material.
Currently, Ohio State’s Agricultural Research and Development Center is growing TKS (along with a US southwestern shrub called gauyule) as a source for natural rubber , but before the end product resulting from it can be used in automotive applications, Ford will assess the initial quality of the rubber to ensure it’s viable enough to meet required durability standards.
If it does, then don’t be surprised to see it popping up more frequently in interiors – how about a green cup holder to go with that green tea?