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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

March 03, 2009

Engineering Team At Baylor Going Nuts About Car Parts

Coconut The Baylor University engineering department has found a way to turn waste byproducts from coconuts into car parts.  The idea originally stemmed from a desire to help poor coconut farmers in third world countries increase their standards of living.  The basic concept is to take coconut fibers and compression mold them into composites that can be used in bed liners, floorboards, sun visors, and interior door covers.  The coconut based material is still pending certification, however the team at Baylor is confident of its approval as coconut fibers are not very flammable and do not emit any toxic fumes when burned. The coconut materials are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the petroleum-based fibers that are currently used in most automobiles. The farmers throw the coconut husks away and this could create an entirely new source of income for poor coconut farmers who typically earn about $500 a year. If all goes according to plan, the benefits could be threefold with cheaper production costs for car companies, better financial gains for coconut farmers, and less petroleum being used in the manufacturing process of cars. Companies like Mercedes Benz and Ford have been using soybean based foam seating in the past few years to reduce their petroleum consumption, and the team at Baylor is hoping this trend can continue.  

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noroadzone

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