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Could Agave Plants Find Their Place In the Future Of Vehicle Production And Manufacturing?

Making plastics out of plants is a concept that is rooted in human history and technological advances; for example, Henry Ford himself produced an experimental car with a soybean plastic exterior back in 1941. Now, 75 years later, Ford are researching the application of bioplastics made from another plant, one best known for being an ingredient in Tequila.

Ford and Jose Cuervo®, the largest and most widely distributed tequila brand in the U.S and the world, have teamed up to explore the use of Agave plants to develop a sustainable bioplastic material with the potential to be incorporated into both the interior and exterior of vehicles.

Researches are testing the material's durability and heat resistance for potential use for components such as wiring harnesses, heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, and storage bins. Due to the bioplastics aesthetic qualities and durability, initial assessments suggest the material holds great promise. If successful in integrating this material into future production of vehicles, this could reduce vehicle weight and lower energy consumption, while paring the use of petrochemicals and the impact of the vehicle production on the environment

At Ford, we aim to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability research department. “ As a leader in the sustainability space, we are developing new technologies to efficiently employ discarded materials and fibres, while potentially reducing the use of petrochemicals and light-weighting our vehicles for desired fuel economy.

Ford Team Up with Jose Cuervo

The growth cycle of the Agave plant is a minimum seven-year process. Once harvested, the heart of the plant is roasted and ground, the resulting juices being extracted for distillation. Jose Cuervo uses a portion of the remaining Agave fibres as compost for its farms, and local artisans make crafts and Agave paper from the remnants, meaning very little of the plant goes to waste.

Now, as part of Jose Cuervo's even broader sustainability plan, they are teaming with Ford to develop a new way to use its remnant fibres.

Jose Cuervo is proud to be working with Ford to further develop our Agave sustainability plan,” said Sonia Espinola, director of heritage for Cuervo Foundation and master tequilera. “ As the world’s No. 1-selling tequila, we could never have imagined the hundreds of Agave plants we were cultivating as a small family business would eventually multiply to millions. This collaboration brings two great companies together to develop innovative, earth-conscious materials .”

This is further example of Ford's commitment to the world and their innovative approach to product and environmental stewardship. But what are your thoughts on the use of this promising bioplastic? Contact us via social media to share your views or for any other information. Alternatively, you can browse our innovative new car range or contact your local TC Harrison dealer to find out more.

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