Just as concerns are increasing over rising pollution levels and countries like ours (India) are taking harsh steps to curb pollution with arbitrary bans on vehicles with diesel engines over 2000cc and those over 10 years old in some cities and states, Ford Motor Company is experimenting with capturing carbon emissions and sequestering it to produce foam and plastic that the company can use in its cars. Basically, your dashboard and cupholders and perhaps even the padding in the doors could have come out from somebody's exhaust! Don't believe me? Well, we got this interesting video that explains the process in theory. Take a look:
Ford says it is planning to use this plastic and foam made from captured carbon-di-oxide in its vehicle line up. It can be used in underhood insulation (that cladding under the bonnet), foam padding for the seats and lining for the doors. You can even make cupholders and plastic trim from this - gives a new meaning to the term carbon fibre, doesn't it? Well, it's not really carbon-fibre, but a polymer made from carbon-di-oxide, which can either be injection moulded into plastic parts or made into soft foam padding.
This process is interesting, as it not only helps in doing something about carbon emissions, but it also reduces dependence on petroleum for making foam and plastic - Ford claims this will reduce petroleum use by 600 million pounds (272 million Kg). Ford says these new plastics and foams can go into its cars in the next five years, reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. Carbon emissions are a huge concern, as globally about 2.4 million pounds (1.08 million Kg) of CO2 is released into the atmosphere per second! Plastic manufacturing accounts for 4 percent of the world's crude oil consumption, according to data from the British Plastic Federation. Ford has also experimented in the past with developing sustainable material for its cars. Soybeans have been turned into seat foam, Kenaf or a kind of jute, has been turned into door padding, recycled cotton T-shirts and denim trousers go into some of its carpets, and recycled plastic bottles have been turned into seat fabric! Just the other day, we were having a similar discussion in office about being able to capture diesel emissions and turn it into solid carbon waste. This seems like a good way to deal with exhaust emissions. What do you think? Why doesn't our government mandate something like this instead of the bans?
This is real interesting. Even, if this project is in the developmental stage, it gives us hope that we can still sustain ourselves. Lower level of carbon dioxide will also result in less global warming! Governments around the world should start funding these initiatives. This technology, when ready should be shared among all manufacturing firms to bring down their dependence on fossil fuels. 272 million kilograms is a significant quantity. I really hope this project succeeds.