Olive trees produce fruit that is eaten as a snack, olive oil or paste. Ford has explored the possibility of using the branches and leaves, which are discarded in the harvest, to make more sustainable components in its vehicles.
The test was conducted under the program COMPOlivewhich is committed to achieving environmental change in olive oil production, using biocomposites instead of plastic and supporting the circular economy. Using residues from the olive harvest to make parts in modern cars could significantly reduce the amount of plastic used in them. At the same time, such a process could well support the goals for cleaner air by avoiding the burning of branches and leaves that are discarded when harvesting this precious fruit. As part of the test carried out, its engineers Ford they made original footrests, as well as individual parts of the luggage compartment, using the above residues from the olive harvest.
Tests have shown that the produced components are robust and durable, with Ford is now evaluating the whole process for mass use in its next “wave” of all-electric vehicles. For the purposes of the test, the residues came from olive groves in Andalusia, Spain, the region with the highest olive oil production in the world.
In the first phase, the engineers at its European headquarters Ford in Cologne, Germany used clever simulation technology to test the usability of olive trees in terms of durability, strength and formability, and were then able to move on to manufacturing the prototype parts. Composed of 40% fiber and 60% recycled polypropylene plastic, the resulting substance was heated and injection molded into the shape of the chosen part.
Together with its partners around the world, the Ford achieves measurable benefits against ambitious environmental sustainability goals. The The Road to Better is her commitment Ford to build a more sustainable, inclusive and fair future in transport, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The program COMPOlive, which ran from 2020 to 2023, had to adapt to travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic. His partners met in person for the first time about two and a half years after the start of the project.