The Ford Motor Company intends to build car parts from tequila plants. No it’s not a late April Fool’s joke – Ford is working, in conjunction with tequila manufacturer Jose Cuervo, on a new source of composite materials: agave plant fibres. Agave plants are the basis of tequila, a spirit produced around the town of Tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco. It takes some seven years to mature a plant for harvest, then its leaves are removed and its pia (or base) is sent to the tequila maker to be processed into alcohol.
The pia is steamed, shredded, and stripped of its sugars and liquids, which become the base for fermentation. The shredded pia fibres get used locally for arts and crafts, and by Jose Cuervo as compost for its plantations. Now Ford plans to use the leftover fibres to reinforce plastic parts, making what’s called fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP).
Read more in the September issue of Classic American, out now!
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