a 1941 Ford with organic plastic body panels

Okay, let's get the spliff jokes out of the way - there's lots of stuff made from hemp, and it won't get you high. It would be nice to swap plastic off-gassing for an entirely more pleasant type of new car smell, though. Don't get your hopes up for a Ford you can smoke, however. What's really going on is research into building cars from renewable organic materials that are also more easily recycled than the metal and petrochemical parts from which that cars are currently constructed.

The effort has Ford teaming with the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and hemp fiber supplier Hemcore. The DEFRA is throwing about £500,000 (roughly $1 million) at the effort, and Ford already has experience using plant matter to build auto bodies. There was a prototype in 1941 with a plastic body fashioned from plant material. We wonder what a rush to plant matter body materials will do to the price of crops; much the same way the E85 push has caused the price of corn to increase. It would be nice, however, to have plastics that can be more easily reused, and may biodegrade instead of plugging up landfills for millennia.

[Source: Winding Road]

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