Environmental Protection

Ford Wins another Award for Soy-based Foam for Seats

In 2008-or-later model Ford Motor Company vehicles, drivers and their passengers more than likely are sitting on a type of soy-based foam. Ford is using this renewable biomaterial for seatbacks and cushions in eight of its vehicle platforms.

The company's use of the soy-based foam has earned six awards to date, most recently the 2009 R&D 100 Award announced by R&D Magazine. Ford shares the honor with supplier Lear Corp.

"Lear Corporation is grateful to R&D Magazine for this recognition and validation that our commitment to environmental stewardship is on target and helps our customers exceed consumer expectations," said Ash Galbreath, Lear Corp. director of advanced material. "We accepted the challenge to be the leader of automotive interior environmental innovation years ago and continue our focus on having meaningful impact with fast-to-market solutions such as soy-based seating foam enabled by collaborative research efforts with suppliers and customers."

In August 2007, Ford introduced soy-foam seats on the 2008 Ford Mustang and has since placed soy-foam seats in the Ford Expedition, F-150, Escape and Focus, as well as Mercury Mariner, Lincoln Navigator, Lincoln MKS and Mazda Tribute. By the end of the 2009 model year, more than 1 million vehicles will contain soy foam seats. The company is researching other applications for soy foam, including soy-based padding in vehicle headliners and soy flour and soy meal in floor mats, door seals, and underbody shields.

In addition, Ford scientists are working on ways to use other parts of the With soy foam in seats on 1 million vehicles, Ford expects to decrease its use of petroleum oil by 1 million pounds and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 5 million pounds annually. Use of soy foam in seats also delivers superior product performance, and supports American farmers.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, soy-based products have only one-quarter of the level of total environmental impact of petroleum-based products. Most automakers today use 100 percent petroleum-based polyol foam. Each vehicle contains an average of 30 pounds of petroleum-based foam in its seatbacks, seat cushions, armrests, instrument panels and headliners.

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