Forget making cars more green — Ford and Heinz have a plan that adds a little red to the mix. In fact, they’re entering into a collaboration to use remnants from tomato sauce to make parts for new cars.
The pair plan to use leftovers from the ketchup production process — skins, peels, stems and seeds — to make components like wiring brackets and storage bins. The idea is to create a kind of plant-based plastic, which does away with the need to use petroleum-based products in favour of the recycled organic matter to make a strong, lightweight material.
Making plastics out of plant matter isn’t particularly new, but making them of high enough quality to include in a car that costs tens of thousands of dollars is. Hence the modest first goal of making components like wiring brackets which never see the light of day — because the finish doesn’t need to exacting.
But Ford has bigger plans for its tomato sauce components: in the long-term, it plans to try and use tomato fibres and dried tomato skins to create composite materials for panels and even fabrics for upholstery. In the future, your car might be more tomato than anything else. [Ford via UPI via The Verge]