Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has teamed up with one of the most prolific manufacturers of tequila in the world, Jose Cuervo, to try and come up with more environmentally friendly bioplastics that can be used in future vehicle models.
The two companies are currently carrying out tests on the plant known as agave from which tequila is derived. The aim of the research is to determine whether the plant can be used to make ‘greener’ plastics compared to those produced from petrochemicals. Debbie Mielewski, the senior technical leader for the sustainability research department at Ford stated that the aim of the project is to minimize the company’s impact on the environment.
Mielewski pointed out that there are roughly 400 pounds of plastic in a regular vehicle. Automotive manufacturers have to seek out alternatives so that they can keep up with strict regulations. Ford believes that it is time for the automotive industry to start considering vehicle parts that do not have as much negative impact on the Earth. Ford is currently considering Agave because it can be used to produce lightweight plastics and it is relatively affordable compared to other products. Its fibers are also quite strong and durable, making it an ideal candidate for the project.
Rather than directly processing the plant, Ford decided to seek help from Jose Cuervo, the New Jersey-based tequila maker to put the waste products of agave into good use. The decision was also a good shortcut for Ford because the Agave plant takes seven years to mature, which is quite a long time to wait in order to start development. The Tequila maker released a statement saying that it is proud to be teaming up with Ford to carry out more comprehensive development for its Agave sustainability plan.
Mielewski also stated that the company is working on coming up with new technologies that will efficiently take up discarded fibers and by products. The aim is to significantly reduce the use of petrochemicals which have a significant effect on the environment.