Ford And Heinz Collaborate To Make Car Interiors Out Of Tomatoes

Ford And Heinz Collaborate To Make Car Interiors Out Of Tomatoes
Design & Architecture

The brands have teamed up to explore the possibility of making unused tomato parts from ketchup production into usable materials.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 12 june 2014

Ford Motor Company is collaborating with H.J. Heinz Company to explore the use of tomato fibers in developing sustainable bio-plastic materials that can be used in vehicle manufacturing.

The researchers at Ford and Heinz are specifically looking into the feasibility of using dried tomato skins to make wiring brackets or storage bins to be installed in Ford vehicles.

In a news release, Ellen Lee, Plastics Research Technical Specialist for Ford, stated,

We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application. Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.

At Heinz, over two million tons of tomatoes are used annually to create Heinz Ketchup, the brand’s best-selling product. Researchers at the company are constantly looking for innovative ways to repurpose and recycle the stems, seeds, and peelings. Heinz leadership decided to work with Ford to explore more possibilities.

Vidhu Nagpal, Associate Director, Packaging R&D; for Heinz, stated,

We are delighted that the technology has been validated. Although we are in the very early stages of research, and many questions remain, we are excited about the possibilities this could produce for both Heinz and Ford, and the advancement of sustainable 100% plant-based plastics.

About a couple of years ago, Ford began collaborating with Heinz, and other companies like the Coca-Cola Company, Nike Inc. and Procter & Gamble for the Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC), which is described as “a strategic working group focused on accelerating the development and use of 100% plant-based PET materials and fiber in their products.” PET or polyethylene terephthalate is a durable and lightweight plastic that most companies use in their products and materials, including plastic bottles, footwear, clothing, and automotive fabric and carpet.

As part of its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint while developing more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, Ford has increased its use of recycled non-metal and bio-based materials, like cellulose fiber-reinforced console components, rice hull-filled electrical cowl brackets, recycled cotton material for carpeting and seat fabrics, and more.

Check out the infographic below, which depicts what Ford and Heinz are trying to do.



[h/t] Popular Science

Header Image: Ajith_chatie CC BY 2.0

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