Ford and McDonald’s Caffeinating Automotive Component Sustainability

December 09 2019

Ford Motor Company will soon be using a composite material made of coffee chaff – the dried skin of the bean which comes off during roasting – from McDonald’s coffee in vehicle parts such as headlamp housings.

Ford Motor Company and McDonald’s USA are partnering to use the coffee chaff set aside from your morning cup of coffee to build vehicle parts.

Coffee chaff – the dried skin of the bean – naturally comes off during the roasting process and is traditionally considered waste material. Working together, Ford and McDonald’s found that chaff can be converted into a durable material to reinforce vehicle parts. The process includes heating the chaff to high temperatures under low oxygen, mixing it with plastic and other additives and turning it into pellets. The chaff composite material can be molded into parts like headlamp housings, and the components designed from the new composite material will be about 20 percent lighter and use up to 25 percent less energy during the molding process. Importantly, the new chaff composite meets the quality specifications for parts like headlamp housings and other interior and underhood components.

This innovative project also involves Varroc Lighting Systems, the supplier of the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies, the processor of the coffee chaff.

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