Ford and Coca-Cola team up to make renewable fabric for cars

Click to see the show car

A refreshing research vehicle unveiled today by Ford in partnership with Coca-Cola that uses pop-bottle technology to make fabrics for automobiles.

Ford has outfitted a Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle with an interior of renewable fabrics developed using Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle technology, introduced in 2009 for plastic bottles. Up to 30% of the normally petroleum-based materials are replaced with plant-based materials.

The research car, which will be on display at the Los Angeles auto show that opens to the media next week, uses the new fabric in the seat cushions, backs and head restraint as well as the headliner and door panel.

This is the first use of PlantBottle outside of pop bottles and stems from a collaboration announced in June 2012 for companies such as Ford, Coca-Cola, Heinz and Nike to work on plastic substitutes not based on fossil fuels. The goal is to find a substitute for PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, which is the plastic used in water bottles, fabrics and carpets.

Ford created a fiber that can be woven into automotive-grade PET fabric. The fabric has the same look and feel as the material it replaces. The automaker will test its durability for an undetermined time period before deciding whether it will go into production.

Ford says if the process were used in interior fabrics across much of its lineup, it would replace 4 million pounds of petroleum-derived materials and save the equivalent of 295,000 gallons of gasoline and 6,000 barrels of oil. It complements other efforts such as using soybeans for seat cushions.

Corporate efforts at designs aiding recycling are praiseworthy. Maybe some of it will rub off on the company creeps who only concern themselves with exploiting natural and human resources.

A report on the all-round reform from the 3rd Plenum

The King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Visits China
The cranes are flying

I finally tracked down a release of documents detailing the sixty points of reform from the 3rd Plenum just concluded in China. Aside from wanting to read through it and form my own opinions – I’d like to make it available for any of my readers.

What I am posting here is linked to an 8-page summary from the online edition of the China Daily. I’ll put up a couple of categories just to note the breadth of the document. I’m confident what I’m looking for is online already – Here is a brief note from China’s president Xi Jinping, as well. Google hasn’t been much of a help, frankly.

Much has come from the third plenum regarding the management of State-owned assets, particularly State-owned enterprises. The reforms are not going to wipe SOEs out of existence, however.

The communique said China’s basic economic system is one that depends on public ownership as its main body but allows for the prosperity of various ownerships. Both public and nonpublic ownerships are important components, it said…

China must accelerate construction of a new agricultural management system and give farmers more proprietary rights, to realize the equal exchange of production factors, achieve a fair allocation of public resources between urban and rural areas, and promote healthy urbanization, the communique said…

This milestone will bring concrete benefits to farmers, lay a foundation for modern agriculture, and pressure local governments to end their reliance on land transfers for large profits…

Guo Jianguang, a professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics, said the market, rather than the government, is likely to play a more important role in deciding China’s exchange and interest rates. As an effective measure to control the macroeconomy, the exchange and interest rates have long been tightly regulated, he said…

The communique points out that to better adjust to the new realities of economic globalization, China must accelerate the pace of opening-up, both internally and in terms of the outside world. The country will lower the thresholds for investment, accelerate the construction of free trade zones, and boost opening-up in inland and coastal areas…

The communique said China will strive to make social welfare fairer and more sustainable. Reform of social affairs is vital to guarantee all citizens enjoy the fruits of China’s development, it said.

Guan Xinping, director of the department of social work and social policy at Nankai University, said China has almost met the goal of universal social welfare coverage for its urban and rural populations, but a great disparity still exists among different professions and regions…

Regardless of personal and political ideology, the proposed structural changes in China will affect the world economy. Primary source information is always useful. There will be no shortage of analysts and pundits.