Ford and McDonald's have teamed up to recycle a raw material called coffee husks. This is a type of cake, part of the shell of the coffee bean, which is separated from it during roasting and is a waste of the food industry. Or the basis for a promising biohybrid material.
Biohybrid materials are not new to the American auto industry, the same Ford began using soy foam as a filling for seats back in 2007. There are also technologies on how to make useful material from crushed peanut shells. In general, natural raw materials are mixed with plasticizers and adhesives to produce a substance that resembles ordinary plastic. The coffee husk option is no exception.
In addition to the fact that cheap waste is taken as a basis, and McDonald's is even ready to pay for their disposal, such bioplastic is also lighter and less energy-intensive than hydrocarbon counterparts. And therefore, it is no coincidence that the first unit that is going to be made from it will be car headlights - very weighty spare parts. Bioplastic is 20% lighter and withstands heat longer, which will give tangible benefits in operation and repair.
Nowadays, almost all manufacturers have technologies of plastic substitutes, they use everything from sugarcane waste to scraps of old denim. But so far no one has dared to make a functional part of the machine out of such material, only linings, gaskets and other inserts. Ford may well be the company that will launch a new era in the automotive industry, where all available parts will be made from recycled materials. And thus cars will become cheaper and safer, and the world a little cleaner.