Ford adds bamboo to lengthy list of renewable materials under evaluation

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In China, researchers at Ford Motor Company’s Nanjing Research and Engineering Centre are looking at bamboo as a potential material for automotive components.

The company has been evaluating using the fast-growing, strong, and flexible plant in vehicle interiors as well as experimenting with plastic-bamboo combinations. According to Janet Ling, an engineer at the center, bamboo has been shown to perform better than other tested synthetic and natural fibers in a range of materials tests, from tensile strength to impact. It can also be heated up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and still maintain its integrity.

“Bamboo is amazing,” Yin tells Il Bioeconomista. “It’s strong, flexible, totally renewable, and plentiful in China and many other parts of Asia.”

Ford has collaborations with Jose Cuervo evaluating tequila production byproduct for bioplastics in its vehicles and with Kraft Heinz for composites made from tomato fibers. Several sustainable materials, including Kenaf, soy, cellulose, and recycled plastics and tires are already being used in several Ford models.