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Carmakers could go bananas over coconuts

Lots of petroleum-derived materials in today's automobile. Gone is the chrome plating and wooden dashboards of yore.
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Written by Harry Fuller on

Lots of petroleum-derived materials in today's automobile. Gone is the chrome plating and wooden dashboards of yore. For lightweight strength and waterproof exterior it's hard to beat plastic and polyester. Until now.

Baylor University researchers say the coconut husk may yield the strong fiber of future cars and other durable products. They've made experimental versions of trunk liners, floorboards and car-door interior covers from the outer fibers of a cocnut shell. The fibers could also be used for construction materials, replacing wood-baswed particle boards. The resrearchers say there are over ten million coconut farmers on earth, most living on tiny annual incomes. This could promise to turn their trash into cash. The oil and petrochemical companies won't like this one bit.

Worse news yet for Exxon, those Baylor chaps think they can produce a sellable biodiesel from coconuts as well.

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