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Origin Materials launches Net Zero Automotive Program with Ford; carbon-negative PET

Origin Materials launched its Net Zero Automotive Program with Ford Motor Company. The Net Zero Automotive Program is a sustainable automotive supply chain initiative focused on industrializing new materials to drive decarbonization in the automotive industry.

Origin Materials has developed technology which turns sustainable wood residues into cost-advantaged, carbon-negative materials that reduce the need for fossil resources.

The Origin platform converts C-6 cellulose into four isolated building-block chemicals in one chemo-catalytic step in liquid-phase reactors with almost zero carbon loss. The catalyst is 100% recovered; Origin does not rely on expensive sugars or fermentation. The majority of the output is the versatile furan CMF (chloromethyl furfural), plus HTC (hydrothermal carbon), an equally versatile resin. The process also creates levulinic acid and furfural—all carbon-negative.


The consultancy firm Deloitte performed a lifecycle assessment of Origin coproducts chloromethylfurfural (CMF), hydrothermal carbon (HTC), levulinic acid, and furfural using industry standard techniques.

The assessment studies Origin products across four environmental criteria: climate change; ecosystem quality, resource consumption; and human health. The study demonstrates significant climate change benefit at commercial production scale, showing expected climate change impact when using sustainably grown North American softwood as follows: -1.2 kg CO2 eq/kg CMF; -1.7 kg CO2 eq/kg HTC; -1.5 kg CO2 eq/kg furfural; -1.4 kg CO2 eq/kg levulinic acid.

To launch the Net Zero program, Origin Materials and Ford will pursue drop-in applications for carbon-negative PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) produced from sustainable wood residues with Origin technology. PET plastic helps make cars lighter, more fuel-efficient, and often comprise a large percentage of a vehicle’s mass. The use of carbon-negative PET is expected to further reduce emissions and the need for fossil resources.


In addition, the companies will collaborate to develop sustainable pigments and fillers for automotive applications for SUVs, trucks, electric vehicles, and more.

The products will be developed using carbon negative materials produced with the Origin Materials technology platform, with applications throughout the interior and exterior of the vehicle, including bumpers, paint pigment, door panels, tire filler, underhood foam sheet, black plastic, head rests, seat cushions, and arm rests.

In addition to turning inexpensive, plentiful, and sustainable wood residues into carbon-negative materials, Origin Materials’ technology platform is expected to provide stable pricing largely decoupled from the petroleum supply chain, which is exposed to more volatility than supply chains based on sustainable wood residues.

Origin Materials’ first commercial plant is expected to be operational in 2022 with a second commercial plant expected to be operational by 2025 and plans for additional expansion over the next decade.


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