Ford uses tequila to stimulate innovation

By Author: Carolyn Briggs, Date: Jul 20, 2016

It’s not often that we recommend combining tequila and cars, but in this case we’ll make an exception.

Ford Motor Company and Jose Cuervo announced they plan to develop car parts from agave fibers leftover from the tequila making process.

The agave plant used in making my tequila was around before I could drink; the growth cycle takes seven years. Once they’re ripe, the plants must be roasted, fermented and have their delicious juices extracted, leaving fibers that resemble straw. Instead of throwing them away, now Cuervo is sending these fibers up to Michigan where scientists at Ford have begun working with them, to make something other than the perfect tequila sunrise.

Researchers say bioplastics made from these fibers show great promise, both for interior and exterior car components.

If this bioplastic proves useful, what would normally be the waste from the tequila consumed on your typical spring break trip to South Padre could become cheap and abundant materials to create car parts. The upside here is Cuervo-based plastic would replace traditional plastics which are much more harmful to the environment to create.

It’s not just good for the earth, though. It could make a more fun ride.

The typical car comes with about 400 pounds of plastic. Exchanging some traditional plastics for biomaterials would have a great impact on the car. Agave bioplastic is significantly lighter than traditional plastic, making a nice dent into that 400 pounds. And as we all know, lighter cars help manufacturers meet fuel efficiency requirements, allowing more weight for accessories more exciting than plastic.

Even if the research doesn’t pan out, this is a pretty good excuse to have a margarita tonight — let’s give them as much agave fiber to work with as possible. Just remember: save the shots for after you put your car in the garage for the night.

Carolyn Briggs

I grew up on the road. As a child, my family took regular trips from Wisconsin to both coasts. That's how I've seen most of this country — through the window of a car. Years later, I still feel that excitement when I toss my bags in the trunk and get behind the wheel. That's how seeing something new always begins. I've scaled mountains, dived with sharks, and stepped to the very edge of the Grand Canyon, all because I spent hours in a car. This site combines my passion for the road with my actual talent — communication and journalism. In college I rose to the position of managing editor for The Badger Herald, the largest independent student newspaper in the country at the time. I spent a year after graduating in social media marketing before moving off the grid to explore the wild beauty of West Virginia.

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