“Tomauto” Innovation: Ford and Heinz Partner to Develop Sustainable Vehicle Materials

“Tomauto” Innovation: Ford and Heinz Partner to Develop Sustainable Vehicle Materials

by Vikas Vij

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 4:00pm



Technology makes strange bedfellows. Ford Motor Co. has formed a partnership with H.J. Heinz Company to research the potential of tomato fibers in the development of sustainable composite materials for vehicles. Researchers at Ford and Heinz will explore how the inedible byproducts such as dried tomato skins of the more than two million tons of tomatoes used by Heinz each year can be recycled to help produce sustainable wiring brackets and storage bins in Ford vehicles.

Ford has been looking for innovative solutions to develop strong, lightweight materials that meet its vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing the company’s environmental footprint. About two years ago, Ford began collaborating with Heinz and a few other leading companies to promote the development of a 100 percent plant-based plastic that could be used to produce everything from fabric to packaging and cut down the environmental impact.

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Image Credit: Flickr via Nicole Yeary

Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of "The Power of Money" (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer for an international social project for developing nations "Decisions for Life" run in collaboration between the ILO, the University of Amsterdam and the Indian Institute of Management.