Ford is using the same material used to produce Coca-Cola's "green" PlantBottles to make an eco-friendly fabric for cars. All of the interior fabric in a prototype version of Ford's Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is made using the PlantBottle technology, which is made of up to 30 percent plant-based materials.

PlantBottle essentially uses biofuels (in this case, ethanol derived from sugar cane) to create a modified PET (a type of plastic resin used commonly for bottles). Regular PET, although recyclable, is created using petroleum, a finite resource. The fabric in Ford's new car replaces the PET used to make polyester with Coca-Cola's PlantBottle PET.

PlantBottle replaces petroleum with sugar cane ethanol

Coca-Cola says it's already distributed over 18 billion PlantBottle packages, saving 400,000 barrels of oil in the process, and notes that if the new fabric were to be used across the majority of US Ford models it would save a further 6,000 barrels. Other companies involved in the development and deployment of PlantBottle include Heinz (which already uses the material in some product packaging), Nike, and Proctor & Gamble.

Although biofuels offer a viable alternative to petroleum, some have noted the rise in their popularity is having knock-on effects elsewhere. Several non-government organizations have argued that farmers are being pushed off fertile land without due compensation, and others have complained that land that should be used for growing crops in areas with food shortages is now being used to provide fuel for developed nations.