Ford and The Ohio State University have teamed up on a research project to develop the potential use of dandelions as a sustainable source for rubber. While not exactly the source material one would think would be used to make rubber for floor mats, cup holders, and various other interior trim pieces, Ford sees future potential in the process. Researchers are looking specifically at the milky white juice that seeps from the stem of the flower.
Specifically, they are looking at the Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS), which is grown at the university's Agricultural Research and Development Center. The project is part of Ford's "Reduce, reuse, recycle" strategy to decrease its environmental footprint while also accelerating the development of advanced, fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford has also been developing soy foam seat cushions, wheat straw-filled plastic, recycled yarns on seat covers, and even natural-fiber plastic for interior components.