Converting coffee-bean skin into car parts

Posted on 15 Jan 2020 and read 422 times
Converting coffee-bean skin into car partsFord Motor Co, working in collaboration with McDonald’s USA, will soon be giving vehicles ‘a caffeine boost’.

Every year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff — the dried skin of the bean — naturally comes off during the roasting process.

Ford (www.media.ford.com) and McDonald’s have found that chaff can be converted into a durable material capable of reinforcing certain vehicle parts; by heating the chaff to high temperatures ‘under low oxygen’, mixing it with plastic and other additives, it can be turned into pellets that can be formed into various shapes.

The chaff composite meets the quality specifications for parts like headlamp housings and other interior and under-bonnet components that are about 20% lighter and require up to 25% less energy during the moulding process.

The heat properties of the chaff component are significantly better than the currently used material, according to Ford. This is the first time Ford has used coffee-bean skins to convert into select vehicle parts.

Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader (sustainability and emerging materials research), said: “McDonald’s commitment to innovation matched our own vision for sustainability.

“This is an example of jump-starting the closed-loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that otherwise would be side or waste products.”

McDonald’s is expected to direct a significant portion of its coffee chaff in North America to Ford to be incorporated into vehicle parts.

The project also involves Varroc Lighting Systems, which supplies the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies (the processor of the coffee chaff).

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