The ringing in of a new year causes many to look back at the past year’s accomplishments. For the farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff, new soy products coming to market is an accomplishment worth celebrating. In 2008, a total of 28 new soy-based products became reality thanks in part to checkoff funding.
|It doesn’t quite look like plant material:
Soy-based spray foam insulation. Photo: USB
“The U.S. soybean checkoff looks for industry partners to grow demand for our product by partnering with them to research and create new soy technologies,” says Todd Allen, USB new uses chairman and soybean farmer from West Memphis, Ark. “We evaluate all of the projects brought to us to see if they have the potential to expand utilization of U.S. grown soybeans.”
Every year, U.S. soybean producers seem to out-perform themselves in producing more soy products as a result of their soybean checkoff program. Twenty-six new products introduced into the marketplace in 2007 and continue to see success in applications such as the soy foam first used in the Ford Mustang. Since then, Ford has licensed this technology to John Deere for use in tractors and the soy foam has made its way into the Ford Expedition, F-150, Escape and Focus, as well as Mercury Mariner, Lincoln Navigator and Mazda Tribute.
“The use of soy foam has migrated to many of our platforms quickly – we currently have soy-based seat cushions and backs used on over 1 million vehicles annually, utilizing over 76,000 bushels of soybeans and eliminating about 5.5 million pounds in greenhouse gas,” says Dr. Debbie Mielewski, technical leader of Ford’s Plastics Group. “We are proud to have been the first to implement this environmentally friendly technology that utilizes soybeans from U.S. farmers. The ongoing partnership established between the soybean checkoff and Ford Motor Company has been incredibly productive and we plan to continue working diligently to increase the applications for soy both within and outside of the automotive industry.”
The list of soy products has grown steadily since 2005, when 19 new products were commercialized. Building on this past success, 2008 saw 28 products introduced, including plastics, coatings and printing inks and solvents. Companies that the soybean checkoff support are just as diverse as the products they produce, ranging from household names like Cargill, whose BiOH™ foam was developed thanks to checkoff-funded research at Pittsburg State University and can now be found in sofas and mattresses, to small companies with novel ways to create new products using soybean oil.
“The board looks at products objectively and decides if there is potential for this product in the future and if so, we will provide seed money for research to be done,” says Allen. “We take our investment of checkoff funds seriously and are proud to show the results of our investments through the products introduced in 2008.”
The new soy-based products and applications introduced to the market this year as a result of checkoff support include the following:
- Soy foam – An auto headliner containing soy-based foam from Johnson Controls
- RENUVA – Polyols used by Timberland as a shoe sole material in its Mion athletic footwear and also used to make viscoelastic foam mattresses from Dow Chemical
- RENUVA – Soy-based polyol reaction injection molding for automotive exterior application from Dow Chemical
- BioFoam – Soy-based polyurethane foam developed by the Woodbridge Group used by Ford Motor Company for the 2009 Escape SUV model and Chrysler in select models
- BioFlex – Hybrid foam for furniture and bedding from Cargill BiOH polyols for Flexible Foam Products, Inc.
- SoyFoam – Utilizes soy polyols from Urethane Soy Systems Company in seating foams for Ford from Lear Corporation
- Envirez 6934-83 INF-16 – Soy-based resin being sold to various accounts to produce composites by the resin infusion process for use in transportation, industrial machinery and marine markets by Ashland, Inc.
- Envirez 1807 – New resin applications in the railroad transportation market by Ashland, Inc.; Deere will also use the resin for seed hoppers produced by Mastermold
- Envirez Q11500 – Improved resin for infusion molding to make small fiberglass parts for the recreational marine market from Ashland, Inc.
- Ford – Ford has licensed their soy foam seating technology to John Deere and its seat supplier, Sears Manufacturing
Coatings, printing inks and adhesives
- SOYAD – Soy flour adhesive substituting for urea formaldehyde in particleboard and medium-density fiberboard from H2H Technologies
- Varithane Clear Finish – Soy and water based polyurethane stain from Rust Oleum
- INX Cure Hybrid ITX Free Process and Pantone Mixing Base Colors – soy-based pigment dispersant for UV hybrid offset inks from INX
- INX Cure UV Clear Foil Primer – Soy-based ink primer for UV hybrid offset printing inks from INX
- INX Cure UV Foil Adhesive – Soy-based adhesive for UV hybrid offset printing inks from INX
- Soy-containing, low-VOC water-based hybrid paint – From Sherwin-Williams Company
- BULLS EYE – Methyl-soyate-based paint stripper from Zinsser Company
- Glysol PenTrate – Soy penetrating oil, WD40 replacement from Workcell Systems
- Soy-Based Cleaner/Degreaser – From SYSCO Corporation
- NATURAL SHINE – Stainless steel cleaner from Rochester Midland Corporation
- SOYLAWAY – Soy degreaser from CPC Aeroscience
- SOYSTRONG – Soy industrial degreaser from Spartan Chemical
- EOS 600 XE – Soy oil emulsion for acid mine bioremediation from EOS Remediation
- SMART CLEAN – methyl soyate-based glass cleaner from Arm & Hammer
- Soy Solvents A, B & C – For asphalt cement, crude oil processing and parts cleaning from BioSpan Technologies (patents pending)
- PURE EZ Degreaser – Soy-based degreaser from Athea Laboratories
- SeamSeal– Soy-based asphalt joint sealer from BioSpan Technologies
- BEAN-e-RID – Mold and mildew preventer from Franmar Chemical
USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on
behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human
utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the
Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service
has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.
Source: United Soybean Board, press release, 2009-01-26.