(NEW YORK) -- Alcoholic drinks and motor vehicles generally don’t mix, but now Ford Motor Company and Jose Cuervo are teaming up in a way that could be a boon for the environment.
While the car and tequila companies at first seem like an odd pairing, the two are working together to develop sustainable car parts from the byproducts of tequila production, according to an announcement from Ford.
The idea is that parts of the agave plant left over after producing tequila could be used in place of traditional materials like plastic to build things like cup holders and fuse boxes on cars.
To produce tequila, agave plants need to be cultivated for more than seven years. When they are harvested, the the plant’s heart -- known as the “piña” -- is roasted and ground in order to extract its juices, Ford detailed in its announcement. Those juices are then distilled, bottled and shipped to your local bar.
But what happens to the fibers that are left over after that process?
Traditionally, the fibers have been used as compost on local farms or taken by local artists to make agave paper and crafts, the company said.
But Jose Cuervo, which has been in business for more than 220 years, and Ford believe the leftover fibers could be put to use in a more sustainable way.
According to Ford, the typical car has about 400 pounds of plastic. Composite materials made from leftover agave could reduce the use of petrochemicals, making cars lighter and more environmentally-friendly. These materials could even improve a car's fuel economy, Ford hopes.
The carmaker says that the materials are still being tested to ensure that they’re sufficiently durable and heat-resistant.
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