Ford Motor Co. is tapping into tequila producer Jose Cuervo’s discarded agave plant fibers for lightweighting and sustainability goals.
Agave plants, used in tequila production, take at least seven years to mature. The fibers are typically used as compost or in papermaking. Ford is working with Jose Cuervo on another goal: to turn discarded agave plant fibers into bioplastic parts for Ford vehicles.
Ford says agave fibers will be useful in making a strong and lightweight bioplastic for use in vehicle wiring harnesses, heating, and air-conditioning units and storage bins. That will help Ford improve lightweighting, and ties into the automaker’s corporate sustainability objectives.
Debbie Mielewski, Ford’s senior technical leader in the sustainability research department, said in a statement that the company also aims to reduce its use of petrochemical materials by using bioplastic ones.
“There are about 400 pounds of plastic on a typical car,” Mielewski said. “Our job is to find the right place for a green composite like this to help our impact on the planet.”
You can view the Ford Motor Co. video below that shows how excess agave from producing tequila can get a second life as part of a Ford vehicle.
The work with Jose Cuervo is in the research stage and there’s no timeline for bioplastic production, Ford said.
Ford started working with sustainable materials for its vehicles in 2000, first creating soy-based foam to use in the seat cushions, seatbacks and head restraints of its North American vehicles. Ford’s annual sustainability report highlights other sustainability practices including water conservation, recycling, powering production plants with solar power, and manufacturing green, electrified vehicles.