It’ll still be a while before you sit in a captain’s chair made of CO2.

But maybe not that long. Ford Motor Company has begun to test new foam and plastic components using carbon dioxide as feedstock for seating and underhood applications.

Researchers expect the new materials to be in production within the next half-decade.

Reducing the footprint

Ford estimates that the switch to using CO2 instead of petroleum-based plastics will save more than 600 million pounds of petroleum annually. To formulate the material, the company is working with NY-based Novomer, which has been experimenting with commercial uses for CO2 from carbon capture and storage (CCS) processes.

“Ford is working aggressively to lower its environmental impact by reducing its use of petroleum-based plastic and foam,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford Senior Technical Leader of Sustainability.

Related feature: The Economics of Carbon Capture

“This technology is exciting because it is contributing to solving a seemingly insurmountable problem – climate change. We are thrilled to be leading the charge toward reducing carbon emissions and the effects of climate change.”

In North America, Ford already uses soy foam is in every vehicle it manufactures. Other carbon-footprint-reducing innovations include:

  • Coconut fiber backs trunk liners
  • Recycled tires and soy in mirror gaskets
  • Recycled t-shirts and denim in carpeting
  • Recycled plastic bottles in REPREVE fabric used in the 2016 F-150