Over Half a Trillion Soybeans Later, Ford Marks 10-Year Anniversary of Bio-based Foam

Read the full story in Triple Pundit.

It has been 10 years since Ford Motor Company rolled out the 2008 Mustang with seats comprised of soy-based foam. Since then, the automaker says it has installed this bio-based form in at least 18.5 million cars that have rolled off the company’s assembly lines.

Spinning plant waste into carbon fiber for cars, planes

Read the full story from Science Daily.

Using plants and trees to make products such as paper or ethanol leaves behind a residue called lignin. That leftover lignin isn’t good for much and often gets burned or tossed into landfills. Now, researchers report transforming lignin into carbon fiber to produce a lower-cost material strong enough to build car or aircraft parts.

ShAPEing the future of magnesium car parts

Read the full story from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Magnesium — the lightest of all structural metals — has a lot going for it in the quest to make ever lighter cars and trucks that go farther on a tank of fuel or battery charge.

Magnesium is 75 percent lighter than steel, 33 percent lighter than aluminum and is the fourth most common element on earth behind iron, silicon and oxygen. But despite its light weight and natural abundance, auto makers have been stymied in their attempts to incorporate magnesium alloys into structural car parts. To provide the necessary strength has required the addition of costly, tongue-twisting rare elements such as dysprosium, praseodymium and ytterbium — until now.

When Will Electric Cars Go Mainstream? It May Be Sooner Than You Think

Read the full story in the New York Times.

As the world’s automakers place larger bets on electric vehicle technology, many industry analysts are debating a key question: How quickly can plug-in cars become mainstream?

The conventional view holds that electric cars will remain a niche product for many years, plagued by high sticker prices and heavily dependent on government subsidies.

But a growing number of analysts now argue that this pessimism is becoming outdated. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research group, suggests that the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected, spurred by cheaper batteries and aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe.

Volvo to Drop Combustion Engines and Take All its Cars Electric in 2019

Read the full story at e360 Digest.

The Swedish-based carmaker, Volvo, will build only electric or hybrid-electric cars beginning in 2019, making it the first big auto company to abandon conventional gasoline-powered engines.

WVU emissions researchers help address automotive industry and regulatory challenges on clean-diesel issues

Read the full story from West Virginia University.

Researchers at West Virginia University have long studied emissions from diesel vehicles to provide independent data about emissions performance both in the laboratory and on the road, as well as provide technology demonstration, other research and design support.

The most recent study from WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions measured oxides of nitrogen emissions, or NOx, from five Fiat Chrysler vehicles in real-world and laboratory tests.

Prioritizing Water Reduction and Reclamation: Q&A with Ford’s Andy Hobbs

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

About 17 years ago, Ford Motor Company took a closer look at its water costs. The move was initially met with wonder, especially given that the automaker is headquartered in the Great Lakes region.

“When we build a car, we know the cost of every second for every employee,” says Andy Hobbs, director of the Environmental Quality Office at Ford Motor Company. “But we never really knew the cost of water. You’d get a water bill.”

So Ford began applying disciplined techniques to understanding the true cost of water. In those early days, they discovered substantial leaks underground and aboveground, Hobbs says. This led to a careful chronicle of water-related issues, which the automaker then tackled systematically starting with no-cost changes and progressing to ones that required investment. Since then, Ford has reduced water consumption by 10 billion gallons.

Hobbs will be talking about innovations in water reclamation at the 2017 Environmental Leader Conference in June. Recently we caught up with him to learn about Ford’s water goals and strategies for reaching them.