Big Carmaker Aims to Make Car Parts from Unused Tomatoes

Written by on June 12, 2014 in Eco-Friendly, Environment with 0 Comments

Adam Williams | Gizmag | 12th June 2014

Researchers at Ford and Heinz are developing a method of manufacturing car parts from tomatoes (Photo: Ford)

Researchers at Ford and Heinz are developing a method of manufacturing car parts from tomatoes (Photo: Ford)

Tomatoes are already found in soup, ketchup, and most Italian dishes, but researchers at Ford and Heinz may have discovered the secret sauce to making car parts from them. The companies’ boffins are currently investigating the potential use of waste tomato peel for the manufacture of interior car parts, such as wiring brackets, and dashboard-based storage.

The progress follows Heinz’s attempts to find new uses for the unwanted peel, stems and seeds that go to waste when the company turns tomatoes into ketchup. A considerable amount of waste could potentially be saved from ketchup alone, given that over two million tons of tomatoes are made into ketchup by the firm annually, and the peel is unused in this process.

The second stage is to turn the pulp into tomato fiber pellets (Photo: Ford)

Though still in development and thus subject to change, the basic process of making a viable plastic from tomatoes proceeds as follows: tomato peel is first crushed into a pulp, before then being made into tomato fiber pellets (pictured above). Those pellets are run through the laboratory and mixed with other materials.

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