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Do Soy-Based Foams Put Ford in the Driver’s Seat?

Posted March 07, 2011 8:30 AM by Steve Melito

In the summer of 1941, Henry Ford unveiled a plastic-bodied car that connected industry to agriculture. According to Lowell E. Overly, the former tool-and-die designer tasked with building Ford's "Soybean Car", the vehicle's panels were made of "soybean fiber in a phenolic resin with formaldehyde used in the impregnation". World War II interrupted Ford's plastic experiment, however, and consumer auto production came to a halt.

Sixty years later, the Ford Motor Company is again experimenting with soy - this time with commercial success. In 2008, Ford became the first automaker to demonstrate that soy-based foams could meet the stringent requirements of automotive applicaions. After adding soy foam seats to the 2008 Mustang, the company added it to the headliners for the 2010 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. Today, Ford has more models with bio-foam seats than any other automaker.

Some environmentalists applaud Ford's attempts to use so-called "green materials," noting that soy foam has helped the automaker to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million pounds. The company's stockholders benefit, too, as soy foam is helping Ford reduce its consumption of more-expensive petroleum for less-expensive soybean oil. Still, some critics wonder how much soy is really in those "soy-based" foams that also include recycled materials. Should anything less than "100% soy" be enough to put Ford in the driver's seat with environmentally-conscious consumers?

Sources: Ford Motor Company and The Henry Ford

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Re: Do Soy-Based Foams Put Ford in the Driver’s Seat?

08/15/2012 7:21 PM

Does this mean that rats, mice and squirrels will now eat seats, like they eat the soy based wire insulation on new cars?

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