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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?
We wouldn’t dare call The Ohio State University just plain ‘ol Ohio State. We know how important that ‘The’ is to those Buckeyes. And while they may have a lot to look forward to this upcoming football season, (best of luck that they don’t disappoint, coming from a Florida Gator!) some students from the University are happily setting records out at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Back in 2009, The Buckeye Bullet set a two-way land speed record of 300.992 mph with a fuel cell-powered version of their vehicle. For this new record however, they would be setting a benchmark for a battery-powered vehicle.
The Buckeye Bullet 2 is a collaboration with Venturi, a Monaco-based developer of electric vehicles. Gone are the fuel cells and in its place are A123 Systems’ lithium-ion batteries. Just as a sign of the future and what these badboys are capable of, the vehicle was piloted one way to 286 mph and back at 297 mph for an average of 291 mph. There was a little bit of a retune going down after the first pass, so we’re willing to bet that this Bullet isn’t far off from another pair of 300 mph passes.
But alas, the Buckeye Bullet 2 might not be seen again as this was simply a test mule for an all new 2011 car. Rumor has it that it’ll be insane and groundbreaking, but we have on details yet. Maybe they’ll be more motivated if their football team is hoisting the crystal ball come early next year. Well, at least some people over at The Ohio State University are making dreams into a reality.
GALLERY: The Ohio State University Buckeye Bullet
[Source: AutoBlog Green]