Ford plans to process tomato skins for its cars

Ford and the ketchup brand Heinz are collaborating in the development of a composite material processed from tomato skins which could replace plastic parts in cars. The tomato plastic was designed by the Plastics Division at Ford from the dried skin of tomatoes. "When we started to process it, I was still thinking about pizza," says researcher Ellen Lee in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But we will see if this product is functional for the automotive industry. The goal is for this strong, lightweight material to meet the requirements of our cars, while reducing our impact on the environment."

Due to the fact that it doesn't look very nice, Ford initially plans to to use it on invisible places, such as under the dashboard, support clamps and coin trays, or underneath the car. The team is now further researching whether the material can be made more attractive to the eye.

Although the development and research are still in a very early stage, both parties are positive about the potential. Incidentally, Ford is already making use of biological (residual) products in its cars, such as coconut, soy foam and rice husks.

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