Beyond soy oil
The scope of Ford's recent rubber research, which was funded in part by grants from the United Soybean Board (USB), included the use of soy fillers (flour, meal) as well as soy oils.
Ford researchers found that soy fillers could provide an inexpensive and environmentally friendly partial replacement of carbon black, a petroleum-based material traditionally used to reinforce rubber. Used together, soy oil and soy fillers could replace up to 26 percent of the petroleum-based content in automotive rubber applications.
While rubber's role in automotive applications is generally not a glamorous one, it is significant. According to the International Rubber Study Group, the automotive sector accounts for more than 50 percent of worldwide rubber consumption, which exceeded 22 million metric tons in 2008. Automotive rubber usage is expected to rise more than 4 percent through 2013.
Ford is a pioneer in the use of biomaterials in vehicles. Ford was the first automaker to demonstrate that soy-based foams could be formulated to pass stringent requirements for automotive applications, starting with seats for the 2008 Ford Mustang and headliners for the 2010 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. The new 2011 Ford Explorer will become the 23rd model to feature soy foam.
With bio foam on more than 2 million vehicles, Ford has annually reduced its petroleum oil usage by more than 3 million pounds and its carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million pounds.
The use of soy content in automotive applications also supports American farmers. The United Soybean Board, which oversees investments of all U.S. soybean farmers for research and
|SOURCE Ford Motor Company|
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