Ew? Researchers Developing Auto Parts Made From Cow By-Products

A common complaint among auto journalists is of rock hard interior plastics, but would we still complain if we knew those plastics were made from cows, and were good for the environment? That’s what one Canadian researcher is trying to figure out.

David Bressler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta. According to Ward’s Auto, Bressler is currently working on using parts of the cow to create eco-friendly interior plastics for automobiles.

Now for those of you were about to turn on your caps locks to email about wasting a viable food source, hold your horses (feel free, however, to express your disgust for the idea altogether). Bressler is creating plastics from cow parts that would otherwise have been thrown out due to Mad Cow Disease, including the skull, brain, eyes, tonsils, and spinal cord, among other things. Essentially, these are bits you — or anyone with an appetitie — probably wouldn’t want to eat anyways.

While details on Bressler’s process are scarce due to a pending patent application, Ward’s Auto reports the proteins from the cow parts are broken into small pieces at a very high temperature. Then, the those molecules are cross-linked to other protein molecules to create a rigid structure.

The plastics that Bressler and his team have created are currently being tested by an auto parts supplier in Ontario. Bressler told Ward’s that his environmentally friendly cow-based plastics could theoretically be available to automakers within a year. If Bressler is right, cow-based plastics could be the new soy-based seats.

Source: Ward’s Auto