Alper Kiziltas, PhD
Technical Expert, Sustainability and Emerging Materials, Ford Motor Company
Achieving Zero Emissions With Sustainable Materials
The growth of the auto industry, the urgency of tacking all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and R&D efforts encourage the use of sustainable materials for automotive applications. The Ford Sustainability and Emerging Materials research program was initiated in 2001, and the group was the first to demonstrate soy-based foam that met all the requirements for automotive seating. The sustainable biomaterials and plastics research team continues to pioneer the development of sustainable plastic materials that meet stringent automotive requirements, including natural fiber reinforced plastics and polymer resins made from renewable feed stocks. Ford currently has 9 renewable materials in production vehicles, including soy oil-based polyol, cellulose, wheat straw, rice hulls, castor oil-based polyol, wood, kenaf, coffee chaff and coconut fibers. Ford scientists are continuing to search for innovative and creative sustainable-technologies that can reduce our dependence on petroleum, create new markets for agricultural products and additional revenue streams for farmers. The past year, research team at Ford have also begun investigating nanocellulose (CNC, CNF and cellulose filaments) reinforced nanocomposites and foams for automotive applications because of their larger surface area, greater aspect ratio and fascinating properties.
Dr. Kiziltas’s research is focused on sustainability and emerging materials such as nanomaterials, polymeric and soft materials, biomaterials, glassy and amorphous materials, self-healing materials and bio-inspired and patterned functional materials. During his 7 years with the company, Alper has led research projects in a variety of polymer-based applications, including advanced and sustainable composites and polyurethane foams. His technical work on developing sustainable and advanced materials such as 1) graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) reinforced polyurethane foams (the first automotive OEM to introduce GNP enhanced products for high-performance applications at large volumes), 2) cellulose based hybrid composites (largest sustainable injection molded part in vehicles today), 3) 100% PCR from carpet recycle process-based PP 4) rice husks filled PP and 5) biocarbon from coffee chaff (safety critical, industry first and sustainable exterior parts) led to implementation on NVH foams (12 different applications), console substrate, carbon canister (cross carline release), fan & shroud, head lamp housing, body harness and wiring channels (5 different applications) for Ford vehicles built within North America and Europe. Alper has received several key awards such as selected to participate in NAE’s 2020 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (among 82 of the nation’s brightest young engineers who are performing exceptional engineering research and technical work in a variety of disciplines), the best professional paper award at 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020 SPE’s Automotive Composites Conference & Exposition, Ford R&A Technical Achievement Award and several SPE Part Competition Awards such as Most Innovative Production Part, People’s Choice, Environmental Category Winner, etc. Dr. Kiziltas has 10+ patents awarded/pending for sustainable and advanced materials, published over 90 external publications, and co-authored two book chapters. He was an invited member for the Nike External Chemistry Board, and has recently served as the Chair for the Industrial Advisory Board of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites which is a collaborative effort by research team at ISU, WSU, NDSU, UGA and industry members (around 30 companies) to conduct commercially relevant research. Alper is currently chair for Society of Plastics Engineers, Automotive Division. Alper received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maine. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Karadeniz Technical University (KTU).
Dr. Judy Jin, Program Director, ISD Manufacturing; Professor IOE
Dr. Miki Banu, ISD Associate Chair of Doctoral Education and Research