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Recycled cotton textiles power Ford trucks
07
Aug '13
Rice hulls are the latest sustainable material used in Ford F-150; the hulls reinforce plastic used in an electrical harness in 2014 F-150

Other eco-friendly materials in F-Series trucks are soybeans and post-industrial recycled cotton – one 2014 Ford F-150 truck uses the equivalent of about 10 pairs of jeans, 26 bath towels or 31 T-shirts as carpet insulation or sound absorber

Eco-friendly materials complement fuel efficient F-Series power trains, including an available 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which improves fuel economy up to 20 percent and reduces CO2 emissions up to 15 percent compared to similarly capable V8 engines

Ford is proving that pickups can be green and tough by adding rice hulls to the list of sustainable materials used to build F-150 – America's best-selling truck.

Ford is using plastic reinforced with rice hulls – a byproduct of rice grain – in an electrical harness in the 2014 F-150. The company will need at least 45,000 pounds of hulls in the first year.

"The 2014 F-Series exemplifies our continued efforts to use recycled content in our vehicles," said John Viera, Ford global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters. "We can have greater impact in this case because of the size and sales volume of this product."

The rice hulls are sourced from farms in Arkansas and will replace a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite made by RheTech, a Whitmore Lake, Mich.-based automotive supplier.

"We developed this resin specifically for Ford over the last three years, working with the automaker closely, including in all phases of material qualification," said David Preston, director of business development for RheTech. "The whole process has been a rewarding success for both Ford and RheTech, which can add yet another natural-fiber based product to our RheVision line."

Rice hull-reinforced plastic is the most recent example of Ford researchers and engineers using sustainable material whenever possible in the F-Series – without compromising toughness and durability. F-Series trucks already feature:

-Recycled cotton: Used as carpet insulation and a sound absorber; every 2014 F-150 contains enough recycled cotton to make the equivalent of 10 pairs of jeans

-Soybeans: Used to make seat cushions, seat backs and head restraints

-Recycled carpet: Some F-150 trucks have cylinder head covers made with EcoLon, a nylon resin produced from 100 percent post-consumer recycled carpet

-Recycled tires: A thermoplastic material made from recycled tires and post-consumer recycled polypropylene is used to make shields and some underbody covers on F-150

-Recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles: A lightweight fiber derived from recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles is used to construct F-150 wheel liners and shields. The parts are significantly lighter than traditional injection molded parts and lead to a quieter ride. Select F-Series trucks feature fabric made from recycled fiber

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