Ford Motor Company will be replacing up to 40% of their petroleum-based seat cushions with a new material made from soybean oil. “Soy foam” costs roughly the same to manufacture as traditional petroleum derivatives, but requires less energy to produce and may reduce environmental impacts by 75%.
The new material was developed by Ford’s own researchers, and made its debut in the 2008 Ford Mustang. Soy foam has also already been incorporated into the seat cushions of Ford F-150 pickups, Expeditions, and Lincoln Navigator SUV’s. By the end the year, Ford says it will have 45,500 soy-foam vehicles on the road.
According to lifecycle analyses conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (as cited in the press release), soy-based products reduce environmental impacts by 75% when compared with petroleum-based materials.
More facts about Ford’s Soy Foam:
- Ford is using 2.2 million pounds of soy foam for Mustang production, which amounts to about 1 gallon of soybean oil per car.
- Ford estimates that the Mustang project alone will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 605,000 pounds annually.
- Ford is looking to make other materials out of soy foam too, like dashboards, armrests and sound-deadening foams.
I’ve poked some fun at Ford lately (see this year’s April Fools post on Coal Powered F-350s), but this seems like a legitimate effort to green the many toxic materials used in auto manufacturing.
Source: Ford Motor Company (Apr. 9, 08): FORD EXPANDS ECO-FRIENDLINESS WITH SOY
Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company