December 13, 2007

Ford Using Soy Based Seat Foam in 2008

Ford has developed a soy based seat foam that will be used on the 2008 Ford Mustang, F-150, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator and will be in the 2009 Ford Escape.

Now, Ford’s Plastics Research team has formulated the chemistry to replace a staggering 40 percent of the standard petroleum-based polyol used in seating materials with a soy-derived material. This breakthrough will make a significant impact on the environment while reducing dependency on imported petroleum.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, soy-based products have only one-quarter of the level of total environmental impact of petroleum-based products. Most automakers today use 100 percent petroleum-based polyol foam. Each vehicle contains an average of 30 pounds of petroleum-based foam in its seat backs, seat cushions, armrests, instrument panels and headliners.

“As we continue to migrate this green technology across many vehicle platforms, we’re improving our environmental footprint by conserving limited resources and reducing carbon dioxide emissions,” said Debbie Mielewski, technical leader, Ford Plastics Research.

Ford is working closely with the United Soybean Board to bring soy foam to the automotive market. The company is using 2.2 million pounds of soy foam in the 2008 Mustang alone. Just based on that application, this green alternative is on track to deliver a carbon dioxide reduction of 605,000 pounds annually.

John Deere is also working with Ford to make soy based seating available in it's line of agricultural equipment.


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