Redefining Sustainable Design: Ford Soy-Foam Materials

Soy Foam Material Interior

Soybeans may not sound that exciting, but Ford recently made headlines by demonstrating how it used this renewable crop to create materials for many of its designs. In particular, Ford recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary of using soy-foam materials for seat cushions, seat backs, and headrests, the first step among many in reaching a truly sustainable future.

According to Ford, roughly 18.5 million cars have soybean-based foams in them, a technology which necessitates approximately 500 billion soybeans. By switching to soy foam, Ford reduced carbon dioxide emissions by about 228 million pounds, as the foam replaces petroleum-based products like plastics.

“The research and testing of renewable, plant-based alternatives to petroleum-derived plastics has been my life’s work since 2000, and I’m proud to be able to continue the vision of Henry Ford,” said Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader of Materials and Sustainability at Ford.

The company first introduced the revolutionary foam back in 2007, though Henry Ford himself had the idea to introduce biomaterials as early as the 1940s. Plant-based alternatives to plastics greatly reduce the oil consumption, which in turn drives gas prices down—even if it does so indirectly over the course of several years. Soy foam is just one of many Ford technologies that are redefining sustainable design. We at Two Rivers Ford can’t wait to see what the brand develops next.

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