Ford Motor Company announced that soybased polyurethane foam shall be used in seats in the 2008 Ford Mustang. The soybean checkoff and the United Soybean Board (USB) have funded the event of soy-based products for over a decade. The checkoff has worked with Ford since 2004 on the event of the soy-based mostly foam for automobile seats. Ford spent seven years researching biomaterials with varied trade representatives. Partnerships among the soybean checkoff, Urethane Soy Programs Company (USSC) and Lear Corporation made versatile foam expertise a reality in Ford autos. “Consumers may not realize that petroleum is a major ingredient in auto purposes comparable to seating,” says Todd Allen, USB New Uses chair and a soybean farmer from West Memphis, Ark. “The move by Ford to exchange petroleum in auto interiors with soybean oil is revolutionary, for the automotive business.” The foam makes use of a 5 percent soy-based mostly polyol and was incorporated into seat backs and cushions in the new Mustangs in August, without compromising the sturdiness, stiffness or performance of the foam. Ford and Lear plan to extend the share of soy in vehicle seats in the near future. Soy polyols have proven to perform as effectively or higher than their petroleum counterparts in terms of total weight, energy and durability. The versatility and price-saving features of soy polyols also make it a popular various. Ford researchers intention to eventually replace up to forty p.c of the standard petroleum-based mostly polyol with soy-primarily based materials. Utilizing the soy polyurethane at this degree might save Ford as much as $26 million in annual costs, while offering an environmental benefit. The National Institute of Requirements and Expertise says soy polyols have only one-quarter the environmental impression of petroleumbased components. “As we transfer ahead to develop a portfolio of sustainable supplies that may go into future Ford vehicles, soy-based polyurethane seats are an important first step and one in all many environmental initiatives Ford is implementing,” says Matthew Zuluzec, Ford Materials and Nanotechnology supervisor. “Working along with USB and our key suppliers, Ford Motor Company’s Materials Research efforts will continue to drive biobased and renewable supplies into our vehicles as a part of our ongoing environmental stewardship.” Soy-based polyurethane foam holds even more potential. Most automotive manufacturers are using a hundred % petroleum-based polyol foam. The annual demand for petroleum based mostly polyols is 3 billion pounds within the United States and 9 billion pounds worldwide. On average every car produced makes use of 30 pounds of petroleum-primarily based foam. That leaves a large potential market for soybased foam, and different car manufacturers are looking at soy-based merchandise as properly.
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