Register to comment and receive news in your inboxRegister or Log in

Ford turns olive waste into car parts

In a groundbreaking move, Ford engineers are redefining automotive sustainability by repurposing discarded olive tree branches, twigs, and leaves from global olive production to create robust and durable car parts. This groundbreaking initiative is a part of the COMPOlive project, committed to instigating environmental change in olive production through the use of biocomposites instead of traditional plastics, fostering a circular economy.

Olive trees, known globally for their fruits in various forms such as snacks, oils, and tapenades, are now contributing to the automotive industry’s eco-friendly transformation. The trial, conducted in Andalusia, Spain, the world’s leading producer of olive oil, focuses on using waste materials that would otherwise be discarded during harvest.

Engineers at Ford’s European headquarters in Cologne, Germany, leveraged innovative simulation technology to assess the durability, strength, and moldability of olive tree waste. The outcome? Prototype footrests and boot area parts that are not only robust and durable but also have the potential to revolutionise the manufacturing process for the next wave of electric vehicles.

By utilising olive tree waste for auto parts, Ford aims to reduce the reliance on traditional petroleum-based raw materials, leading to a significant reduction in plastic use. Additionally, this initiative contributes to cleaner air in local areas by circumventing the need for burning olive waste as a disposal method.

“In using the waste from olive trees, we have been able to substitute a significant amount of petroleum-based raw material in the interior parts. The sustainable fibres create a unique surface appearance and would be directly visible to our customers,” says Inga Wehmeyer, project lead at Ford.

This isn’t Ford’s first foray into sustainable materials for cars. Past initiatives, such as soybean-based foam seats, post-consumer recycled materials, and recycled ocean plastic in various components, underline Ford’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

Please find the following links and materials for your kind consideration: