Ford and Heinz in eco-car collaboration

June 13, 2014 | By | In News

Car manufacturers are currently investing billions in the future of the automobile. From advanced battery technology to hydrogen fuel cells, the world’s boffins are hard at work ensuring the cars of tomorrow provide sustainable mobility that is kinder to the environment.

US car giant Ford has taken an unusual step in the quest to reduce the environmental impact of its cars by pairing with the H.J Heinz company, which is most famous for its baked beans and tomato ketchup.

However, don’t expect to see any Heston Blumenthal-style automotive cuisine mashups here, the two corporations have in fact joined forces to develop a new sustainable bio-plastic material from tomato fibres.

“Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.”

Specifically, the two companies believe that dried tomato skins could be used as material in the creation of a number of automotive components, including wiring brackets and plastic interior fittings such as coin trays.

“We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” said spokesperson Ellen Lee to Reuters.

“Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.”

Other multi-nationals have been drafted in, including Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble, as the carmaker looks to switch completely to sustainable plastic sources, over the oil-based materials currently in use.

The collaboration will also prove beneficial for Heinz, which has been looking for ways to constructively use the two-million tons of tomato peels, stems and seeds left over each year from the creation of its popular ketchup.

This is not the first time an organic foodstuff will have been used in the construction of a car. When Volkswagen launched its Fox supermini back in 2005, it made no little fanfare about how parts of the interior trim, including the rear parcel shelf, were made from a blend of recyclable synthetics and pulped pineapple.

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