showers bring May flowers, but they also revive those pesky weeds. For most,
seeing a dandelion pop up means a trip to the local Home Depot for some weed
killer, but Ford and Ohio State University are taking a
different approach to these yellow-topped intruders.
State University had received a $3 million grant to
build a processing plant for the use of these dandelions back in 2008.
Now, Ford and Ohio State University are working together to study and
possibly utilize dandelions as a new sustainable resource for rubber. The
effort is part of Ford's "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" commitment,
which aims to cut its environmental impact as well as increase production
of fuel efficient vehicles.
dandelions is a step toward this environmentally
friendly direction, but not all dandelions are the same, nor
can they all be made into rubber. The preferred species of dandelion for this
venture is the Russian dandelion called Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS). This
specific dandelion is used because a milky-white substance is excreted from its
roots, which could be used to produce the rubber and even enhance the impact
strength of plastics.
this species of dandelion is
being grown at Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and
Development Center. Ford and Ohio State plan to use the dandelion's milky
substance for floor mats, cup holders and interior trim.
always looking for new sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a
smaller carbon footprint to produce and and can be grown locally," said
Angela Harris, Ford research engineer. "Synthetic rubber is not a
sustainable resource, so we want to minimize its use in our vehicles when possible.
Dandelions have the potential to serve as a great natural alternative to
synthetic rubber in our
plans to test the material's quality and performance before putting it to use
to make sure that it is durable. In addition, guayule, which is a shrub found
in the Southwestern United States, will be considered for the development of