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Ford trying to use sustainable materials to make cars

This Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, photo, shows the Ford blue oval badge in the grill of a vehicle on display in the showroom at Butler County Ford in Butler, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Ford is trying once again to use sustainable materials in its manufacturing process.

The car maker has been experimenting with the Arizona-grown plant guayule as an alternative to rubber. Now, Ford is going south of the border and teaming up with tequila maker Jose Cuervo and expanding on that model.

The automaker wants to use a by-product of the agave plant after Jose Cuervo uses the juice extracted from the plant to make tequila. The hopes are that that by-product can be used to make parts for cars.

Senior Technical Leader for Sustainable Materials at Ford Debbie Mielewski said Jose Cuervo uses about 200 to 300 tons of agave juice every day.

“The leftover fibers are really without much uses, and so we have been taking those fibers and learning how to process them with plastic materials and make potential components for our cars,” Mielewski said.

She said the resulting sustainable product would be used to reinforce plastic. Mielewski said a number of car parts could eventually emerge, using the sustainable material.

“We’re looking at H-Vac ducts, we’re looking at even interior trim, some under-hood wiring brackets, and then hopefully, we’ll be able to see it in some visible applications within the interior as well,” Mielewski said.

She noted that every time a plant is used in manufacturing, instead of petroleum, the environment benefits.

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