Ford to use coffee bean waste to produce auto parts

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 8, 2019

This is just the latest effort from Ford, who already uses tree and soy cellulose to only recyclable or renewable plastics for their cars. That's what makes the new collaboration between the two giants so odd, but also incredibly cool.

The automaker has teamed up with McDonald's to use the skin dry coffee beans, or rice husks, which are usually discarded as waste during the roasting process to make auto parts lighter and more powerful than those they replace. The coffee chaff is heated at high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives to be turned into pellets.

Ford says that the chaff composite material meets specifications that it needs for parts like headlamp housings, interior parts, and underhood components. The resulting components will be about 20 percent lighter and require up to 25 percent less energy during the molding process.

Ford devised a way to take that coffee chaff and convert it into a durable material that can be used to reinforce certain vehicle parts. In fact, they mentioned that chaff components have performed significantly better compared to the material they are now using.

The Senior Technical Leader at Ford, Debbie Mielewski, she gave an update on how it's working so far.

McDonald's will be directing a significant share of its coffee chaff waste in North America to Ford to use for their vehicle parts. Each headlight housing will using chaffs from approximately 300,000 beans.

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

As Ford explains in a press release issued today, McDonald's produces "millions of pounds" of coffee chaff per year. "We're convinced we can probably do some chemistry and make something out of those as well".

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