I am definitely excited to hear Coca-Cola’s presentation next week at the Ecochem conference in Switzerland and maybe get an update on the sales of their PlantBottle™ as well as updates on JBF’s bio-MEG project in Brazil. For those who are not familiar with PlantBottle™, it is a bio-based PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resin currently made with sugarcane-based monoethylene glycol (around 30% by weight) and the rest with petroleum-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA).
Today, Coca-Cola announced that its PlantBottle™technology is being applied for the first time beyond PET packaging, and is now being used as part of the interior fabric of a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid research vehicle. Scientists and engineers at the two companies co-developed the first-ever fiber that can be woven into durable, automotive-grade PET fabric using the PlantBottle™material. The bio-based PET fabric is used for seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door panel inserts and headliners.
The Ford Fusion Energi research vehicle will be on display later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Ford is evaluating the potential of using the material in other applications.
According to Coca-Cola, more than 18bn PlantBottle™packages have been distributed in 28 countries since 2009. The company plans to convert all of its PET plastic bottles – which accounts for approximately 60% of its packaging globally – to PlantBottle packaging by 2020.
From the start, Coke decided to license the technology to other non-competitive companies to expand its application and build a global supply chain for PlantBottle™ material. Since 2011, H.J. Heinz has shipped more than 200 million ketchup bottles in PlantBottle™ packaging. If PlantBottle™will be used as interior fabrics in majority of US Ford models, it could reportedly displace nearly 4m lbs of petroleum-derived materials.
Ford also currently uses soybean foam in seat cushions of every vehicle the company built in North America.