The lengths that Ford goes to make its vehicles green and energy efficient never cease to amaze me. Sure, the company uses recycled materials like plastic and metal in its cars. It uses old tires to make other parts of the cars and trucks, and Ford is now going green and using a weed that I am always trying to kill in my yard. Ford has found a way to use the lowly dandelion in its car construction.
Ford worked with Ohio State University to figure out how to use dandelion roots to produce a type of sustainable rubber. Eventually the material created will be used to make all sorts of parts that need rubber in Ford vehicles like cup holders, floor mats, and interior trim bits. The tech requires a specific type of dandelion though, the Russian dandelion Taraxacum kok-saghyz, and the weed is being grown at the university for research.
Before the new rubber can be used in Ford vehicles, the material has to be evaluated for its quality and to determine how it will perform as part of the vehicle. “We’re always looking for new sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint to produce and can be grown locally,” said Angela Harris, Ford research engineer. “Synthetic rubber is not a sustainable resource, so we want to minimize its use in our vehicles when possible. Dandelions have the potential to serve as a great natural alternative to synthetic rubber in our products.”