Ford is combining olive branches and twigs with recycled plastic in a pilot to make auto parts – and the results are looking promising.
Pruning olive trees during harvests creates 7 million tons of waste annually, so Ford engineers in Cologne, Germany, launched a research project called COMPOlive to explore how olive branches and twigs could be repurposed to manufacture auto parts.
They sourced the olive tree waste from Andalusia, Spain, and combined it with recycled plastic. The prototype parts consisted of 40% olive tree fibers and 60% recycled polypropylene plastic. The substance was heated and injection molded into the shape of the part.
After testing biocomposite prototype parts, the engineers found them to be lightweight, durable, and strong. This means Ford could potentially reduce the amount of plastic used in vehicle production, reduce auto parts’ carbon footprint, and use more recycled and renewable parts in its cars.
Check out the video about the olive tree car parts below:
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