Inspire

Could Your Next Car Actually be Made From Recycled Tequila?

Some entrepreneurs say they get their best ideas in the pub, which is exactly what may have happened at Ford.

Ordinarily, mixing alcohol and cars isn’t a great idea – but the sustainability team at US car maker Ford apparently doesn’t mind a challenge. Yes, Ford is actually exploring ways to recycle your favourite Mexican shot into car parts.

More specifically, the Detroit-based company hopes to turn waste from tequila agave plants – used to make the distilled delicacy – into super sustainable car parts. Ford is working with the world’s best-selling tequila brand, Jose Cuervo, to make it happen.

“There are about 400 pounds of plastic on a typical car,” says Debbie Mielewski of Ford’s sustainability research department, “Our job is to find the right place for a green composite like this to help our impact on the planet.”

Mielewski says the research could have a broader impact “across numerous industries.”

Recycling Agave

A promotional video for the partnership explains how Jose Cuervo grows its tequila plants for seven to ten years. After the plants are harvested, the ‘hearts’ of the agaves are roasted, fermented and distilled to make tequila.

But it’s the leftover tequila plant fibres that Ford is currently experimenting with.

The car maker says that its initial tests have shown that recycled agave fibres hold a lot of promise due to their durability and “aesthetic qualities” (although the company doesn’t mention how many tequila shots are required to appreciate the beauty of the fibres.)

If the tests are successful the recycled agave could even reduce the weight of car parts, reducing fuel usage.

Going Electric

But none of this is really going to matter if Ford keeps producing petrol guzzling, greenhouse gas producing machines, right?

Well, they’ve got that covered too. Ford recently announced its new all-electric ‘Model E’ car, which is scheduled to go into production in 2019.

With the new car, Ford will be going after Tesla’s new mass-produced ‘Model 3’ consumer car which is set for a release in 2017.

Interested in turning plant waste into new products? Ford and Jose Cuervo are not the first companies to try. Pectcof, for example, is a Dutch start-up supported by Climate-KIC that turns a byproduct of the production of coffee into new, useful materials.

Find out how Climate-KIC could help you start your own recycling company.

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