Ford uses soya to make greener car seats

Posted by Laura Grant on July 16, 2007
Posted in Transport

Ford seems to be doing quite a bit to green up its seating arrangements. There are lots of reports on the Internet about Ford’s plans to use soya-based foam in its car seats, starting with its 2008 Ford Mustangs. Soya is a renewable resource so the new seats will be far more environmentally friendly than the petroleum-based foam that is normally used in car seats. Also, the foam has up to 24 percent renewable content, takes less energy to produce and cuts carbon dioxide emissions, said Ford in a press release, adding that it gives the company the “opportunity to conserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint”.

Debbie Mielewsk, technical leader for Ford’s materials research and advanced engineering department, said that each vehicle produced today contains an average of 13,5kg of petroleum-based foam. “The total annual worldwide market for the foam is 9-billion pounds (4-billion kilograms),” she said, therefore, “research and development of renewable, more environmentally friendly materials to produce the foam, could have a significant environmental impact”. Source: Ford website

In another press release the car maker reports that the fabric on the seats of the 2008 Ford Escape will be made from 100-percent recycled post-industrial waste – defined as “anything intended for retail use that never makes it to the consumer” and it can be anything from plastic to un-dyed polyester fibres.

Interface Fabrics, which supplied the new recycled fabric, estimates that by using post-industrial recycled materials, rather than virgin fibres, Ford could conserve about “600,000 gallons (2-million litres) of water, 1.8 million pounds (800,000kg) of carbon dioxide equivalents and more than 7-million kilowatt hours of electricity”. Source: Ford website

It’s a shame these greener seats aren’t earmarked for any of the models we get in South Africa.


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