Dr. Deborah Mielewski, Ford Motor Company's Research and Innovation Center

Senior Technical Leader of Materials Sustainability

Dr. Mielewski is a graduate (B.S.E, M.S.E and PhD) of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan.  She started working at Ford in 1986 on predicting the durability of automotive coatings.  Subsequently, she worked in plastics processing, and then plastic materials.   In 2000, she started the bio-materials project, focusing on inclusion of soybean oil into urethane foam formulations.  This product was introduced in the 2008 Ford Mustang, and now every North American built vehicle hosts soy in the seat cushions, backs and headrests.  Since that time, 7 other plant-based materials have been introduced into Ford vehicles, making them a leader in this space.  Dr. Mielewski has spoken about her work at countless venues, including the Smithsonian and TEDx.  She has over 50 refereed publications and 10 U. S. patents.

Ford: #FarmToCar from Public Record on Vimeo.

Keynote and Plenary

Welcome & Opening Keynote

Wednesday, June 28th
9:00am to 10:00am

Greening the Blue Oval: Sustainable Materials for Ford Vehicles

Dr. Mielewski's keynote, Greening the Blue Oval: Sustainable Materials for Ford Vehicles, will demonstrate the value of committing to sustainable practices. Debbie will take an in-depth look at plant-based materials developed and implemented at Ford, such as soy-based foams, wheat straw and rice hulls. The potential for plant-based materials is boundless, and Ford's research into an even wider array of new materials such as carbon dioxide based and algae polyols and nano-crystalline cellulose composites could create even bigger opportunities.