Ford Motor Company outlines its top 10 green initiatives

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

In recognition of Earth Day, April 22, Ford created a Top Ten list that focuses on some of its latest “green” initiatives. Ford’s comprehensive global sustainability strategy includes a focus on the development of environmentally friendly vehicle technologies, including hybrids, diesels, bio-diesels, advanced engines and transmissions, E85 ethanol, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen internal combustion engines and fuel cells. In addition, Ford is introducing sustainable efforts throughout the company in manufacturing, materials and facilities management.


Ford’s commitment to green vehicle technologies will result in improved fuel economy for its customers and reduced CO 2 emissions. Other green efforts will help it minimize its environmental impact through the conservation of energy and a reduction in pollution, while saving the company and customers money.


1. Use of Sustainable Fabric – The 2008 Ford Escape is believed to be the first U.S. automotive application of 100 percent recycled fabric seating surfaces. The new fabric, supplied by Interface Fabrics, Inc., is produced from 100 percent post-industrial waste. Post-industrial waste is something originally intended for retail use that never makes it to the consumer. It can include anything from plastic intended for pop bottles to undyed polyester fibers that don’t make the cut for consumer use.

This plastic and polyester is processed, spun into yarn, dyed and woven into seat fabric. Recycling waste otherwise destined for landfills has obvious environmental benefits.


Interface Fabrics estimates that Ford’s use of post-industrial recycled materials, rather than virgin fibers, will conserve up to:

  • 600,000 gallons of water 1.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO 2) equivalents
  • the equivalent of more than 7 million kilowatt hours of electricity


2. Leader in Fuel-Efficient 6-speed transmissions – Ford, Lincoln and Mercury offer 15 models that are available with fuel-saving 6-speed transmissions. Ford plans to produce approximately 1.3 million 6-speed transmissions annually by 2008. Two out of every three vehicles will be offered with 6-speed transmissions by the end of next year. Fuel efficiency is improved up to 7 percent in highway driving over typical 4-speed transmissions while offering better performance and smoother, more precise shifts.


3. Ford Introduces First Clean Diesel in Heavy-Duty Pickup Segment – Ford is leading the diesel revolution with the 2008 Super Duty, offering the segment’s first clean diesel engine. The new 6.4-liter diesel utilizes Ford Clean Diesel Technology and meets the most stringent emissions standards in the world while increasing power and torque in an engine that is smooth and quiet. The 6.4-liter PowerStroke clean-diesel makes an impressive 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 650 foot-pounds of torque starting at 2,000 rpm while reducing particulate output by up to 97 percent to a level on par with gasoline engines.


4. Sustainable Landscaping Preserves Environment and Looks Good – In an effort to conserve natural resources, improve habitat and lower costs, Ford has installed nearly 200 acres of sustainable landscaping around its corporate properties in Dearborn and Allen Park, Mich. The comprehensive grounds maintenance plan incorporates fields of wildflowers, natural prairies and fallow fields. Several prairie fields are designated “Grow Zones,” meaning they contribute to a sustainable environment by preserving natural resources, providing wildlife habitat, absorbing rainwater, reducing erosion and saving maintenance costs.


5. First Two-Time Winner of EPA’s Energy Star Award – Ford’s actions to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities have earned it the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s coveted Energy Star 2007 Partner of the Year Award in Energy Management. Ford is the first automaker to receive the award two years in a row. In 2006, Ford improved energy efficiency in the U.S. by 5 percent, resulting in savings of approximately $25 million. Since 2000, Ford’s U.S. facilities have improved energy efficiency by 25 percent, equivalent to the amount of energy consumed by 220,000 homes.


6. Ford Escape and Focus Are More Than 80 Percent Recyclable – Dismantlers and shredders process more than 94 percent of all salvaged vehicles. They collect parts and materials for reuse, remanufacturing and recycling. Usually, 75 percent of an automobile’s content is recycled – including steel, iron, aluminum, copper and other non-ferrous metals. The Ford Escape and Focus exceed the norm, being more than 80 percent recyclable.


7. Paint Fumes Become Fuel at Michigan Truck Plant – Ford’s innovative Fumes-to-Fuel system burns paint fumes in a process that produces electricity at the Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Mich., home of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. The patent-pending Ford system uses a Stirling cycle engine to burn the fumes from solvent-based paint used to paint cars and trucks. Not only does the process virtually destroy the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the fumes, it also produces electricity for the plant. The program burns one-third of the fumes in one paint booth, yet 45 to 50 kilowatts of electricity are produced – enough to meet the typical demand of an average suburban block of houses. Currently, Ford’s North American assembly plants incinerate the VOCs in solvent-based paint fumes, but the process requires a significant amount of energy, substantial floor space and produces some carbon dioxide (CO 2). The only by-products of Ford’s Fumes-to-Fuel system are small amounts of water vapor, CO2 and nitrogen oxides.


8. Keeping Cool With Geothermal Cooling System – The Lima (Ohio) Engine Plant, home of production for Ford’s award-winning Duratec 35 engine, uses cold water from two abandoned limestone quarries on the property to cool a portion of the plant and its equipment. The geothermal system saved Ford $300,000 in installation costs – compared with the cost of installing a traditional cooling tower – and saved more than $300,000 in annual operating costs. Although actual cost savings are difficult to determine at this point, the system is capable of providing chilled water using 0.1 kilowatts per ton of cooling vs. traditional chiller systems with cooling towers, which consume around 0.7 kw/ton or more. In addition, several hundred thousand gallons of domestic water have already been saved due to the elimination of some existing cooling towers.


9. Police Go Green with the 2008 Crown Victoria Interceptor – The 2008 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor will be the first and only police fleet vehicle offered with flexible fuel capability, allowing it to operate on E85 ethanol or gasoline. Ford is the largest producer and seller of police vehicles, with more than 80 percent of the market. As police and government agencies move toward becoming more environmentally conscious and seek alternative fuel vehicles for their fleets, Ford is in the position to fill this need for its police customers. Ford’s current lineup of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) includes the Ford F-150, Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis models.


Ford has placed more than two million flexible fuel vehicles on the road and has pledged to make half of its production capable of running on alternative fuels by 2012, provided the necessary fuel and infrastructure are in place. The company recently announced it has achieved 50-state certification for all of the Ford and Mercury 2008 flexible fuel passenger car models. In an effort to differentiate its FFVs from standard gasoline vehicles, Ford will begin equipping the E85-capable vehicles with yellow gas caps by the end of this year.


10. World’s Largest Green Roof – Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant has the World’s Largest Living Roof, according to Guinness World Records. The 10.4-acre living roof is part of Ford’s redevelopment of the Ford Rouge Center, which includes a number of progressive environmental initiatives. The roof is composed of a drought-resistant perennial groundcover called sedum which is planted into a specially layered bed. Virtually maintenance-free, it can absorb up to 4 million gallons of rainwater annually and is part of a broader storm-water management system installed at the Rouge. In addition to absorbing rainwater and carbon dioxide, the sedum roof produces oxygen and provides natural overhead insulation for the final assembly building, thereby reducing energy costs. It also is expected to last twice as long as a traditionally constructed roof.

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