Ford and Origin Partner to Improve Auto Supply Chain with PET Plastic Made from Wood

(Credit: Origin Materials)

by | Jun 11, 2021

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Ford Motor Company is working on an automotive supply chain initiative focused on finding drop-in applications for carbon-negative PET plastic produced from sustainable wood residues. PET plastic helps make cars lighter and more fuel efficient, and often comprise a large percentage of a vehicle’s mass. Ford is working with Origin Materials — a company that turns sustainable wood residues into carbon-negative materials that reduce the need for fossil resources — to produce products including bumpers, paint pigment, door panels, tire filler, head rests, seat cushions, arm rests and more.

The partnership is part of Origin’s new sustainable automotive supply chain initiative it is calling the Net Zero Automotive Program. The program is focused on  industrializing new materials to drive decarbonization in the automotive industry. Origin believes the newly developed and industrialized materials, derived from sustainable wood residues, will be in high demand from the automotive industry as it undertakes a “massive global effort to decarbonize its supply chains in search of the ‘zero carbon’ car.” The program will aim to provide the automotive industry with drop-in ready materials solutions to enable this transition.

Ford says its path to carbon neutrality evaluates every part of its operations, including the emissions associated with manufacturing the vast amount of materials used in its vehicles. The ability to utilize carbon negative materials will be “a monumental driver in helping achieve our sustainability goals,” says Debbie Mielewski, technical fellow at Ford. (Ford has also been investing in solid state and lithium-ion batteries as part of its drive toward a sustainable future.)

Origin says its technology platform is expected to provide “stable pricing largely decoupled from the petroleum supply chain,” which is exposed to more volatility than supply chains based on sustainable wood residues.

Traditional carbon comes from petroleum extracted from below the earth’s surface. But there is a great untapped carbon ocean — atmospheric CO2 — “just waiting for us,” Origin explains. “Trees and plants capture CO2 through photosynthesis and package it up as cellulose. It’s the original carbon-capture technology.”

Other Origin partners include Danone, Nestlé, and PepsiCo.

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