When the Second World War ended, the price of a barrel of oil plummeted as peacetime began to take hold across the globe. Henry Ford wanted to use agricultural parts in his cars (he even built a soybean car in 1941 – a plastic car made from soybeans).
But with the price of oil so low, no one was taking Ford seriously, and there was very little concern for the environment from any government or establishment until after the 1960s. But still, Ford set up a laboratory at his headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan with an express aim to discover new ways of bringing agriculture into his motor industry.
Today, the price of a barrel of oil stands at around $40. But you might remember it was only a decade ago in 2007 when it tipped at a massive $160 a barrel. It was around this time that Ford’s lab in Dearborn was really beginning to be taken seriously. The lab has been working on integrating soy products and other natural renewables into its cars and trucks.
It has been working diligently on research dating back well over three decades; research was being focussed on environmentally friendly ways to run vehicles and trying to change our attitude toward oil use. Every car today sold in the US, already contains soy foam, recycled tires, plastic bottles, T-Shorts and denim, in some cars even tree fibers have been used.
Using the lab to fund and research way of using renewable energy has prompted other car manufacturers around the world to look at mass producing electric cars. Ford has been working with Universities and like-minded companies on a project called NOVOMER.
The idea is to turn Carbon Dioxide into new materials for a car. Things like foam, seating, under the hood, bumpers. Maybe 5 years from now, this dream may well be a reality. And taking it further, imagine if they could make an entire car from all waste fumes and plastic.