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Cars Made From Flax

Updated on November 21, 2011

The Bio-car!

The French automotive group, PSA, has begun using components made from natural materials. PSA makes Citroens and Peugeots.

The bio-car plan has three elements:

- the use of bio-polymers, recycled materials and natural fibers.

In fact the inner door panels are made up of 50% flax, and side mirror mountings and radiator caps contain hemp instead of glass fiber. Plastic bottles and bottle caps are ground up and added to small proportions of glass fiber to produce windshield wipers and mudflaps. The tights worn by women are usable for reprocessing and blending with glass fiber to make non-structural hard plastic parts under the hood.

What are bio-polymers?

Bio-polymers are polymers that are produced by living organisms. This includes DNA and RNA, proteins and peptides, and cellulose and starch. Bio-polymers have been around billions of years longer than synthetic polymers like plastics.

The Objective:

All this falls under the automaker's "Green Materials Plan" set up in 2008. The objective is to implement a six-fold increase in natural and renewable materials used in all vehicles by the year 2015. The plan will bring about a marked reduction in cost savings as well as in reducing energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, and go a long way towards the conservation of non-renewable resources.

Surprise! This was done in the USA over 100 years ago!

PSA wants to replace plastics made from oil. Surprisingly, the introduction of materials made without mineral oil was done here in the USA on Model T Ford cars between 1908 and 1927. Some parts of the car were made from soya polymers. Henry Ford demonstrated how strong the material was on a prototype car by taking a sledge hammer to it - leaving the car unscathed - but the production plans were scrapped.

Why Use Hemp?

Hemp is already abundant in France. It is cheap and grows without pesticides and fertilizers. In fact, hemp was once a major crop in the USA. George Washington used enslaved African people to grow hemp (See link below).

Hemp is hemp is hemp?

What kind of hemp? According the natural-fiber specialist at PSA, the hemp grown for this purpose is not the same strain of hemp that is grown as marijuana. The natural fiber specialist at PSA points out that it would take about two tons of the material used for cars to make a joint.

For information about legal hemp and other "green living" ideas, please see links below:

fancy car

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    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Interesting soumyasrajan that Ford made the effort - but then greed stepped in and then short-sighted stupidity.

      Glad you found the article interesting. Thank you for commenting! I'm enjoying your hubs!

    • profile image

      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Very interesting article Bk! I knew Ford had used soya plastic and developed a car model. He had also experimented with engineered wood and bio-fuels etc. I used to wonder why then they are still not being used. It is good to hear the progress. I hope bio polymers and bio-fuels some day replace most of today's plastic fuels etc.

      In a country like India it may bring a big change and bring prosperity to village life, a dream once Gandhi had tried with his idea of Khadi.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      It just makes so much healthy sense Part-time Writer. It may take some intelligence and responsibility for our actions - but that's where we should start. Thanks for commenting.

    • Part-time Writer profile image

      Part-time Writer 7 years ago from Way Up North (USA)

      The use of renewable materials is definitely the way to go. It is good for American farmers and the world. Use more natural fibers.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're welcome tim-tim! This is technology I would invest in! Thanks for commenting!

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Fascinating!I know you are not pulling my legs but this is extraordinary! Thanks for sharing.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I just love the comments! Somehow I suspect there will be some silliness to get the whole idea off the ground.

      So many good uses for what is all natural - One day, maybe!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      All of the comments are hilarious! It's nice to know though SERIOUSLY that there are some good uses for hemp out there! I wonder if you worked in the factory if you would get stoned....wow...would they have drug testing then? Seriously, it's a good thing to go green!

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Such great humor with the advent of this car. Can't wait 'til it hits the market.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 7 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      Hi BK.What an interesting Hub.

      Just wondering what happens to the radiator cap when the engine over heats.

      Dose it smoke?

      Cause that would be a good selling point.....lol..

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for the compliment sweetie1 - yes, we all need to be more green!

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 7 years ago from India

      Hi this is beautiful hub..this way we can go more green an with big ozone hole we need to be lot eco friendly

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you Curious Jen - so glad you found the hub amazing!

    • Curious Jen profile image

      Curious Jen 7 years ago from Canada/Nicaragua

      That is absolutely amazing. The article was interesting and well written. Keep up the good work.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Nice to meet you Kathy Rimel - it seems we are beginning to realize that we do have a responsibility as individuals. We need to think 'green' all the time! Thanks for writing!

      Thank you komal!

      We can do this Dorsi! Seems there is always an alternative to the damage we are doing! Thanks for commenting!

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      Very interesting. It's amazing the things that can be replaced with "greener" materials. We just need to think outside the box!

    • profile image

      komal 7 years ago

      good article

    • Kathy Rimel profile image

      Kathy Rimel 7 years ago

      Great article, I am all for going "green". Ithink it is our responsibility as a human being living on this plant to do as much as we can to be more friendly to our environment and leave as small a footprint as possible.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you Shalini Kagal - I'm so glad you found the hub interesting. Creativity is in us it seems. I'd certainly welcome more hemp growing and use.

      Thanks goldenpath! I suppose necessity truly is the mother of invention - we just can't keep using non-renewable resources.

      Thanks for writing Alberttt!

    • Albertttt profile image

      Albertttt 7 years ago

      Nice and interesting.

    • goldenpath profile image

      goldenpath 7 years ago from Shenandoah, Iowa, USA

      Fascinating innovation! I, personally, don't believe in global warming but I do support innovative initiatives like this that do reduce the need and dependency of foreign oil. This is quite an interesting "green" project they have undertaken. Thanks for the information!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      How very interesting, BkCreative! Incredible how creative man can be when he puts his mind to it - I guess hemp has an inspiring quality about it? :)

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Ah, why not sytor! It's time to be super creative. And at one time old newspaper could be recycled and you'd make some dollars - don't know what happened to that.

      Good point Francine Smith - Lots of humor to come!

    • profile image

      Francine Smith 7 years ago

      Oh the comic potential... if the car crashes in a fireball, does the fire department race to the put it out or, just race to the scene? And those Hotrod Heads who spend all day welding, the fumes would really mess with their mental health. Dude have you puffed my car?

      Hugs to your hub :-)

    • profile image

      sytor 7 years ago

      fantastic! now all i need is to make money outa old newspaper and Im a made man!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're welcome Jen's Solitude! The possibilities are there!

      Thanks for the compliment xuniei! Nice to meet you.

    • xunlei profile image

      xunlei 7 years ago

      it is great ,

      I like,

      I will keep your post!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      What an interesting hub, BK! Thanks so much for showing what is possible in the production of automobiles that are truly Green!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      It may have been the same French company - they set up this project over a year ago. I don't know of any other car company making this effort as of yet.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • solarpanels4sale profile image

      solarpanels4sale 7 years ago

      Very interesting. I remember seeing a tv program a while back that was all about using help and it's resin to make a ton of materials. In fact, they were making cars as well. I wonder if it was the same company.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks Ben Zoltak - glad you enjoyed the links as well. It seems what is old is new again - and it's about time!

      I love doing this research Johnvincent - I'm learning so much. Thanks for commenting!

    • Johnvincent profile image

      Johnvincent 7 years ago

      Never knew this, Thanks for the information

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Great read Bkreative!, I also enjoyed looking at the links below. American needs to get back to her Henry Ford roots!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      We have always been able to go green, prettydarkhorse - but profit rules, not a healthy environment for our children. Sad.

      I'm glad you found the hub interesting K Partin!

      Thanks for writing!

    • K Partin profile image

      K Partin 7 years ago from Garden City, Michigan

      Wow, interesting hub BK, thanks for sharing. K.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      nice hub, we can actually go green, and then way back, Americans have been using it 100 years ago, thanks for the information BK, Maita

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you RTalloni - there was a time flax was used to make linen sheets which not only lasted forever but had health benefits. Flax is good for everything!

      You're very welcome creativeone59 - I'm glad you found the hub productive and informative! Thank you for commenting.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank BK for an amazing and productive hub, it was very informative. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Too cool. I knew flax was good for everything!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm glad there is finally some recognition that we can't continue doing the stupid things we are doing. Thanks for writing Ethel Smith!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Whatever next :)

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks Mercon - good to meet you!

      I'm glad you liked the hub fastfreta!

      Interesting shinujohn2008 that this was a reality in the US in 1907 but cars that last are not profitable for the car industry here. The best product should be the objective not profit no matter what.

      Thanks for the comments!

    • profile image

      shinujohn2008 7 years ago

      Is this reality, can we believe it

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 7 years ago from Southern California

      Very interesting, reading hubs like these are very educational. A green car, what next.

    • mercon profile image

      mercon 7 years ago

      good article, probably I'll bookmark this hub

      thx :)

    • mercon profile image

      mercon 7 years ago

      good article, probably I'll bookmark this hub

      thx :)

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks bddonovan - now let's see if the USA auto companies follow suit (or follow suits - haha!) Of course we can always spend our dollars the way we want and buy from the companies making an all out effort.

      Amazing isn't David R Bradly - we never had to be on foreign oil - but Rockefeller and his ilk had to control the wealth - and like sheep we became dependent - no questions asked - but the real old timers knew that they could fill up their farm vehicles with grain alcohol - but then that was rapidly made illegal.

      Yes pmccray America is so opposed to growing hemp - even this kind - it's easy to grow, pesticide free, and has a million benefits!

      I so appreciate all the comments. We hubbers will certainly effect change! Yay!

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 7 years ago from Utah

      This was an excellent Hub. It boggles my mind that our CEO's are willing to allow their greed to interfer with the betterment of mankind, although I'm not surprised. As I stated before, on one of your links, the ban on the growth and production of hemp is another one of America's GREAT LIES. It's a shame and a waste of a valuable resource.

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Whatever we can do to get off Foreign Oil...

    • bddonovan profile image

      bddonovan 7 years ago from Beautiful Berkshires of Massachusetts

      Great Idea, Henry Ford was in the fofront of many great Ideas. a man before his time. Now we have the technology to make some of his ideas commercially viable.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Ah yes, of course gramon1 - the CEOs are only interested in the bottom line - by any means at all. And if they control the media as in the USA and we insist upon being uneducated consumers this will never stop.

      But we with the (few) dollars can effect change!

      Grind them and roll them? - oh now this may create a cause for theft - sigh!

      Thanks for commenting!

    • gramon1 profile image

      Guillermo Ramon 7 years ago from Miami

      My experience with corporate directors is that they don't believe that there is global warming or true damage to the environment. They laugh off at concepts like organic food, a catastrophic future, and all that concerns liberals. Their position tends to be that if it is a liberal concern, then it is idiotic socialist propaganda. Most executives I know are truely ignorant and do not understand the most basic things.

      On the funny side, dio you realize that after you and your neighbors get tired of your hemp cars, you can grind them, roll them, and smoke them? You could have a Cheech and Chong block party!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      So hilarious - the Cheech and Chong humour! Thanks for keeping us so well informed habee!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Too cool! Reminds me of the van from the Cheech and Chong film - made completely out of marijuana. lol.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      So true Veronica Allen - everything green is there for our use and benefit - but of course if corporate America can make a profit no matter what the cost to our health and environment they have been allowed to do it - at our expense. Sad. So it is up to us hubbers!

      Yes, we dropped the ball kartika damon - imagine a car that did not dent - no recurring profit there. Sigh!

      I'm glad you like the hub Hello, hello - thanks for commenting!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I definitely learned something new there. Thank you so very much.

    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      Very cool hub! As usual, we dropped the ball but hopefully we will get on board and go greener this time!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      This is absolutely amazing. It just goes to show you, that we can truly go green if we put our minds to it. It's so great that all this materal is reusable and not just left in a landfill.