Ford expands bio-based part list with rice hulls

Ford expands bio-based part list with rice hulls

Rice is the latest sustainable ingredient to be added to Ford's F-150 pick-up, the best-selling truck in America.

The manufacturer announced this week that the 2014 Ford F-150 will use plastic reinforced with rice hulls, a byproduct of rice grain, in the truck's electrical harness. The hulls will replace a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite developed specifically for Ford.

The company said it will use at least 45,000 pounds of hulls, sourced from farms in Arkansas, in the first year of production. The hulls add to the soybeans and the significant amount of recycled materials already in the F-series production process.

More than 650,000 F-Series trucks are sold each year in the U.S., with the fleet pioneering a host of green materials.

For example, Ford uses around 10 million pounds of recycled cotton a year in F-series truck upholstery. Ford estimates every 2014 F-150 contains enough recycled cotton to make the equivalent of 10 pairs of jeans.

In addition, some F-150 trucks have cylinder head covers made with EcoLon, a nylon resin produced from 100 percent post-consumer recycled carpet; seat covers made from soybeans; and shields, underbody covers, wheel liners and interior panels made from recycled bottles, tires or plastics.

The new F-150 also will offer a factory-installed package that allows the engine to operate on either natural gas or petrol, potentially reducing emissions of both CO2 and harmful particulates and gases.

“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.”

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen and is reprinted with permission.

Ford logo image by JD Hancock via Flickr