Thanks to my bf who was listening to NPR last night, he told me about this new technology of using coconut husk fibers to replace the synthetic polyester fibers found in cars. Specifically, Researchers’ goal “is to use the coconut fibers to make trunk liners, floorboards and interior door covers on cars, marking the first time coconut fibers have been used in these applications.”
Coconut husks are a sustainable means. Coconuts are an abundant, renewable resource in countries near the equation and with an estimated “11 million coconut farmers in the world making an average annual income of $500, the Baylor researchers hope to triple the coconut farmer’s annual income by increasing the market price for each coconut to 30 cents, which could have a substantial effect on the farmer’s quality of life.” Baylor University Researchers hope to create a viable market for the poor coconut farmers.
As the team analyzes the mechanical properties of coconut fibers, they have found that the fibers are “just as good, if not better, than synthetic and polyester fibers when using them in automotive parts.” Another plus, coconut fibers are less expensive than other fibers and better for the environment because the coconut husks would have otherwise been thrown away. Coconut husk fibers also do not burn very well nor do they give off toxic fumes. Both crucial categories in passing tests required for actual application in commercial car parts.