Angela Harris, research engineer for Ford Motor Company, highlighted how one of Ford’s key goals is to identify opportunities to use recycled or renewable material – in place of nonrenewable virgin material – in its vehicles. As a result of these ongoing efforts, about 85 percent of the materials used on Ford vehicles by weight are recyclable and ultimately create less of an impact on the environment.
Through Angela and her team’s work with renewable and recycled materials, hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic and other waste have been diverted from landfills over the past five years, and millions of pounds of CO2 have been spared.
“We’re always looking for new sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint to produce and can be grown locally,” said Angela Harris, Ford research engineer. “For example, synthetic rubber is not a sustainable resource, so we want to minimize its use in our vehicles when possible. Through our research, we identified dandelions have the potential to serve as a great natural alternative to synthetic rubber in our products.”
Harris’s work in the Plastics Research group at Ford Motor Company's Research and Innovation Center located in Dearborn, Michigan, requires her to focus on bio-resin materials, natural fiber reinforced composites, as well as light-weighting polymer technologies. Angela's research in these areas resulted in the development and construction of the world's first EnviroSeat concept, which reduces CO2 emissions by 25kg over a traditional petroleum based seat. Angela has authored over 50 technical publications and presentations on sustainable materials and lightweight plastic technologies. She is part of an all female, all-mother team at Ford who is working to make Ford products more sustainable through science and technology innovation.
“We’re excited to have representation from Ford’s research team in Atlanta to highlight Ford’s commitment to sustainability in such a unique way,” stated Don Conroy, Atlanta regional manager for Ford Motor Company. “Guests had a chance to learn about one of our company’s most innovative initiatives at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, one of the city’s most environmentally focused organizations.”
Ford’s “Reduce, reuse and recycle” commitment is part of the company’s broader global sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint while at the same time accelerating the development of advanced, fuel-efficient vehicle technologies around the world.
Over the past several years, Ford has concentrated on increasing the use of nonmetal recycled and bio-based materials whenever possible, provided these materials are environmentally favorable in the specific application. Examples include soy foam seat cushions, wheat straw-filled plastic, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.
Additional material on Ford’s commitment to Reduce, reuse and recycle: Fact Sheet | Graphic
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