Pulses are known to have many different uses, but most of these uses are as ingredients to be consumed. Now with climate change at the forefront of many innovations, pulses, such as soy beans, are being adapted into materials for different use.

An interesting story in the Globe and Mail notes that many auto manufacturers are shifting towards agri-environmental design which involves using plant-based materials in vehicles. These eco-conscious materials are being used on everything from tires to plastic storage bins. It’s innovative and exciting, with an aim to reduce dependency on foreign petroleum, improve the environment and increase revenues for farmers.

Companies like Ford and Toyota have taken a likeness to this opportunity, and have begun purchasing agricultural products such as soy beans, wheat straw, and coconuts from unsuspecting farmers. Not only does this promise eco-friendly innovation, but it will lower greenhouse gas emissions from the auto-manufacturing industry.

“You’re providing revenue to a farmer who didn’t even expect to sell wheat straw for anything,” says Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader of materials sustainability at Ford’s Research and Innovation Centre in Dearborn, Mich. “He grows it for the food portion. We’re able to use the fibres in very high-end, durable applications.”

Read the full story on the Globe and Mail.