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Ford's environmentally-friendly "soy seats"

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Ford to Use Soy Foam in Mustang Seats

Thursday July 12, 12:28 pm ET

By Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

Ford to Use Soybean-Based Foam in Mustang Seats, Saving Oil

DETROIT (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. will put soybean-based foam cushions in the seats of the 2008 Mustang and may do the same with other models as well, eventually saving thousands of barrels of oil in the manufacturing process, the automaker said Thursday.

Most automakers use petroleum-based foam, with an average of 30 pounds going into each vehicle, Ford said.

The company has not calculated exactly how much oil it would save if it used the new foam for every application in all of the 2.9 million vehicles it produces per year. But Debbie Mielewski, technical leader for Ford's materials research and advanced engineering department, said if all the foam was soy-based, Ford would use 11 million pounds of soy oil, and the petroleum savings would be a similar volume.

The foam, which is 40 percent soy and 60 percent oil-based, now costs about the same as conventional foam that is fully oil-based, Mielewski said.

"Currently we believe that the technology is a cost wash, but you have to remember that is because we are implementing it on one program and lower volumes," she said, predicting that the cost would drop when used in more vehicles.

The annual worldwide market for automotive foam is 9 billion pounds, so a switch to a renewable material could have a significant environmental impact, Mielewski said.


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Cool ford.... now hows about making the fabric from environmentally friendly bamboo?

It's more durable, it's softer, and it grows in places nothing else will.....

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If I'm not mistaken, Ford Motor Company was a soybean pioneer from way, way back. This is a cool modern parallel.

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