Ford and McDonald's partner to turn coffee waste into car parts

Ford and McDonald's partner to turn coffee waste into car parts

Ford and McDonald's partner to turn coffee waste into car parts

Ford is brewing a new type of plastic. That's what makes the new collaboration between the two giants so unusual, but also incredibly cool.

McDonald's sells a lot of coffee, and Ford builds a lot of vehicle parts. To form the molds, the chaff is heated at high temperatures under low oxygen. The resulting pellets can be formed into various shapes.

These components match the quality specifications required by the headlight mounting panel and other interior and exterior body parts. According to the automaker, the parts will be 20 per cent lighter than before and require about 25 per cent less energy during the heating process. Chaff is usually used for garden mulch, but through an innovative process, Ford thinks it's able to turn them into reinforcing material for plastic. This is the first time that Ford has used coffee chaff to produce vehicle parts. In fact, they mentioned that chaff components have performed significantly better compared to the material they are now using.

Researchers from Ford, the Dearborn, Michigan, US-based carmaker, are using McDonald's coffee chaff - the waste left over after the roasting process - to make headlamp housings and other auto components. "They are more durable because the chaff composite can withstand heat better", says Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader of Ford's sustainability and emerging materials research team.

This is Ford's first time venturing into the use of coffee beans for components.

Ford found out that there are millions of pounds of coffee chaff that goes to waste every year, so they figured they might as well make use of it! "What about their French fry potato peels?"

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