You do know what coffee chaff is, right? During coffee bean roasting, the husks inevitably come off, and more often than not, the chaff is either used as garden mulch, charcoal, or treated as waste and thrown away. However, thanks to Ford and McDonald’s, coffee chaff just gained a whole lot of value.
Apparently, mixing plastic plus some other additives with heated chaff makes this waste product malleable, meaning that it can be pressed into pellets, which can then make a variety of shapes.
Being the innovators that they’ve always been, Ford is planning to use this to their advantage. Interior car parts from this car manufacturing company as well as those under the vehicle’s hood will be made of chaff composite, translating into parts that are 20% lighter and that will cut the company’s expense on electricity by 25%.
As you may have already guessed, molding coffee chaff is much easier than molding metal, hence the energy savings the company will enjoy. And just so you know, lighter car parts mean that Ford cars will be more fuel-efficient. Who doesn’t want this for their machine?
Headlamp housings will be the pioneer chaff composite car parts, and the company intends to have started the production process before this year draws to a close.
Naturally, Ford isn’t processing the coffee chaff themselves. For this, they have help from Competitive Green Tech, who’ll work with the company that supplies the car manufacturer with lighting systems, Varroc.
Each headlight housing is expected to use chaff from approximately 300,000 beans, and did you know that they’re expected to be more durable compared to those that Ford has been producing thus far?
According to Debbie Mielewski who leads the sustainability research team at Ford, chaff composite withstands heat a lot better, hence the increased durability of these new headlight housings.
You still haven’t made the McDonald’s connection, have you? Well, the fast-food company is in partnership with Ford to divert a portion of its coffee chaff to the car manufacturer, and you better believe that the portion they deliver will be significant.
822 Million Cups of Coffee
Last year, McDonald’s served as many as 822 million cups of McCafé coffee in the US alone. That’s a whole lot of processed coffee beans, right? Now think about all the McDonald’s food outlets there are on the entire North American continent, and how much coffee they process annually.
And by the way, Ford and McDonald’s don’t plan to end it here. Both companies have announced that they intend to keep working together, with Ford hoping to use more of the fast-food company’s scraps to drive their inventions.
In a recent interview, Mielewski claimed McDonald’s definitely have lots of tomato skins, seeds, and peels, and even mentioned their potato peels. She figured that Ford would find a way to work their magic and make something out of these items that are generally considered waste products.
You have to agree that Ford is indeed leaders when it comes to inventions in the automotive industry, right? Have you ever, for a second, thought that the mug of coffee you’re enjoying could be working towards the creation of car parts? Hardly! But now, it is a reality.