Car, furniture production cheaper, greener with soy

Soybeans are helping to make industrial epoxy resins used in construction, automotive and furniture production hardier, greener and less expensive.

Researchers at the University of Guelph are working on a new soy-oil based bio-resin that, when mixed with soy stalks and soybean meal, can create new biodegradable “green composites”. Traditional epoxy resins used in composite products are petroleum-based and can be brittle.

Epoxidized soybean oil – a stabilizer made from soybeans – is a lower cost, renewable material that can be used as an additive to enhance the toughness of conventional epoxy resins.

Not only is this good news for the environment, it may also provide farmers a market for their soybean stalks.

“The development of these new biodegradable soy-based composites will provide an alternative to petroleum-based products that come from a renewable source,” says soybean grower Kim Turnbull. “As well, this new generation of industrial products will bring farmers new market opportunities for soybean by-products.”

The green composites can be used in the production of auto parts, packaging, building products (floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom sinks, shower bases, roof tiles, and exterior door panel structure foam) and electronic components like enclosures and insulating panels.

More information on this interesting work is available from the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

Photos in this post courtesy of AGCare.

Here is a field of soybeans ready for harvest – a common sight across southern Ontario this September!
And here’s a truckload of freshly harvested soybeans


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