Ford adds green to F-150 using plastic reinforced with rice hulls

Replaces a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite used in an electrical harness.

August 7, 2013   by PLANT STAFF

More green in the 2014 Ford F-150. Photo: Ford

DEARBORN — The Ford Motor Co. has added a bit more green to its 2014 F150 pickup truck. Plastic reinforced with rice hulls – a byproduct of rice grain – is being used in an electrical harness.

The rice hulls, sourced from Arkansas, replace a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite made by RheTech, a Whitmore Lake, Mich.-based automotive supplier.

The manufacturer will need at least 20,400 kilograms of hulls in the first year.


“We developed this resin specifically for Ford over the last three years, working with the automaker closely, including in all phases of material qualification,” said David Preston, director of business development for RheTech.

F-Series trucks also contain these green materials:

• Recycled cotton used in carpet insulation that acts as a sound absorber.

• Soybeans used to make seat cushions, seat backs and head restraints.

• Recycled carpet used in EcoLon, a nylon resin, for cylinder head covers in some F-150 trucks.

• A thermoplastic material made from recycled tires and post-consumer recycled polypropylene for shields and some underbody covers.

• A lightweight fibre derived from recycled plastic pop and water bottles used to construct wheel liners and shields.

• Recycled post-industrial plastics used in interior finish panels, including around radio and climate controls.

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