Ford Authority

Ford Upcycled Glass Fiber Project Wins Two Awards

Ford has earned its fair share of recognition related to the company’s environmentally-friendly efforts as of late, a list that includes being named as the top automaker in the 2024 Lead the Charge Coalition Leaderboard report, being recognized for its water conservation efforts by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), ranking high on the latest version of LexisNexis’ Exploring the Global Sustainable Innovation Landscape: The Top 100 Companies and Beyond report, and winning a sustainability award from the Society of Plastics Engineers for the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E frunk. Now, that list has expanded yet again, this time, to include special recognition for an upcycled glass fiber project.

Ford’s EMPHASIZING project – which is being conducted in conjunction with Gestamp, EMS-CHEMIE (Business Unit EMS-GRIVORY), Gen2plank Ltd, Longworth – Sustainable Recycling Technology, Brunel Composites Centre (BCC), and TWI – aims to develop a strong material with properties similar to carbon fiber – but at a fraction of the cost – which could one day be used in everything from automotive parts to wind turbines.

Ford Upcycled Glass Fiber Project

Even better, this new material is developed from upcycled glass fiber materials that would otherwise wind up in a landfill somewhere. The EMPHASIZING project – which is set to run until October 2024 – has already won the JEC Circularity & Recycling Award, as well as the Wild Card Award at The UK 2024 Engineer C2i (Collaborate to Innovate) Awards in London. Moving forward, the project will explore the effects of graphene sizing on the mechanical properties of glass fiber as well as the cost equations of making the material viable for commercial use.

“The whole idea started during a discussion I was having with the Welding Institute (TWI). Most people are working on fiber recovery based around carbon fiber as this is the most potentially valuable,” said Professor Alan Banks, Innovation & Industrial Engagement Supervisor and the Ford lead on this project. “Recycling glass fiber presents major challenges as recovery of glass is limited, more expensive than virgin glass and often down-cycles the material. I discussed the possibility of ‘re-sizing’ the material with nano-technology using Graphene which measure one million times less than the width of a human hair and is harder than diamonds and 200 times stronger than steel. This could provide the industry with a new material with strength properties towards the carbon fiber scale but costs more towards glass which is the holy grail.”

“The belief among the consortium is that the mechanical properties will be at around the mid-point of glass and carbon fiber with a price point more towards virgin glass fiber,” Banks added. “The potential uses for the material could range from interior trim panels to structural and semi-structural components where durability and strength are the main sign-off requirements.”

We’ll have more Ford related accomplishments to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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