Your Car May Be Made From Dandelions

May 11th, 2011 | Simcha Weinstein | 1 Comment »

Dandelion greens are one of the best tasting, most nutritious foods that you may have never tried. That’s right, the greens on those little yellow flowers are considered a superfood. They are low calorie and very nutrient-rich. Dandelion greens are high in vitamins A and C, as well as strong in Calcium. Additionally, they contain the antioxidant lutein, which is excellent for keeping your vision healthy.

But it looks like this somewhat obscure food is now being looked at for car parts.

Ford Motor Company is looking to produce cup holders, floor mats and other parts with the help of dandelions. Through work with Ohio State University, Ford will make and test car components created with rubber derived from the Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz. OSU’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is growing the dandelion, which produces a milky-white substance from its roots that can be turned into rubber.

Debbie Milewski, technical leader of Ford’s plastics research group, said the dandelion rubber will be used in parts that are part-plastic, part-rubber. That includes materials all over the interiors of cars like plastic trim as well as exterior parts like bumper covers. Some of those components have rubber content up to 40-50 percent.

I like where this is going. Ford has already introduced soy foam and wheat straw components into its vehicles. As part of Ford’s overall plan to make vehicles lighter and explore alternative materials, the company has also created fabrics out of recycled plastic bottles and engine cylinder head covers from recycled carpet.

It’s nice to see more good news coming out of Detroit… Flower Power is Back!