Ford announced today that it was forming an alliance with Boeing and Northwestern University to develop nanotechnology for application in the transportation industry. Nanotechnology is a relatively new field of science that focuses on developing materials and solutions at the molecular level. Ford was on hand to announce the partnership at the dedication of its new Engineering Design Center at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The new EDC was built to be a green building, with the intent of being certified in environmental sustainability by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.
The nanotechnology alliance is touted as part of Ford?s latest focus on technological innovation. While it had technically innovative projects before, its new corporate strategy is to drive innovation, specifically advances in technology. The use of nanotechnology holds promise for Ford and Boeing in areas such as material coatings, power plant design, energy storage, and other materials engineering areas. Ford also hopes to drive further advancement in areas such as hydrogen storage, a field where Toyota and GM have already announced advancement. This new facility and the alliance seem to be a way for Ford to highlight its own research and development efforts. Anything that Ford was doing prior to the announcement by Bill Ford Jr. that innovation would be the hallmark of the brands will now start to come to the surface.