House built by soy, of soy, for soy

LONDON, Ohio — The House that Soy Built, an icon to the many uses of soy, opened at this year’s Farm Science Review.


      The house is a building constructed by soy, of soy, and for soy.


      The building itself contains many materials developed from research partially funded with soybean checkoff money, and it houses examples of the many uses to which soya has been adapted.


      According to Dale Profit, president of the Ohio Soybean Association and a member of the Ohio Soybean Council, it is a real life example for soy producers of the fruits of their labors.


      ”We have invested their money in projects that we hoped would ultimately increase the uses and consumption of soy,” Profit said. “Here they can see tangible results of what has happened.”


      Since 1991, the soybean council has invested soybean producer checkoff funds into promotion and research programs.


      The goal has been to increase the use of soya in commercial and industrial products in order to increase the demand for soybeans.


      The research is beginning to bear fruit. Soy is being used as the basis of many new healthy food products, and as the source of natural Vitamin E, but it is also being used today in a variety of other ways.


      Profit said experiments that resulted in biodeisel and other automotive products have been so successful that the soy council is now predicting that soya has a chance to replace petroleum.


      OSU is currently testing a soy truck that runs entirely on soya bioproducts for both fuel and lubricant.”What they are trying to find out now is whether there are any wear points where the soy oil has not working as well,” Profit said.


      The state of Ohio has already adopted the biodeisel for use in all of its vehicles for the next three years.


      That contract is about to begin, after the state won a court challenge from promoters of the use of recycled cooking oil as diesel fuel.


      The state, Profit said, has specified that it requires biodeisel made from virgin soy oil, and there was a reason for that.


      Recycled oil, he said, has a much lower clouding temperature than virgin oil. In a cold climate, it can gel in the engine.


      ”When you are pushing snow in Cleveland after a 20-inch snow, you wouldn’t want to have 30 plows gel up and not run,” Profit said.


      ”There are seasons and regions where it works fine. You can use it in Georgia or in Texas, or even in Ohio in the summer, and have no problems. But you probably wouldn’t want to use it in Ohio year-round.”


      Other soy products are also getting some attention.


      Profit is especially excited about the new soya glues that have exceptionally strong adhesive powers.


      Right now, he said, they are being used in several products. He pointed to an example of finger-jointed wood that is on display as part of the construction material used in the House that Soy Built.


      When boards are bonded in this way, he said, they are stronger than wood. This is a way to piece remnants together to make usable boards out of wood that would formerly have been discarded.


      The same is true for the particle board that is being made from wood chips and soya glue. It is cheaper than plywood for construction uses like subflooring.


      ”It kind of gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling when you know that we have found a new way to use something that was actually going to waste,” Profit said.


      There is also a decorative material used for wall paneling, cabinets and flooring called “environ” that is made from soy glue and newspapers.


      Profit said the process uses 55 pounds of recycled newspapers for a 4-by-8 foot sheet.


      And at Purdue, he said, a contest for new uses of soy resulted in a soya candle that is now in commercial production.


      The House that Soy Built displayed other products currently being created from soya, including carpet backing, concrete sealant, coatings and paints, foam plastics, solvents and printing ink.


      There is also a line of creams and lotions that combine soy-based oil with soy-derived vitamin E.


      ”We have been using our checkoff dollars for almost 10 years now to fund research and the development of those ideas that have looked most promising,” Profit said.


      ”Everything we have funded hasn’t turned out great, but if we can get the majority to come to fruit and increase the uses for soya, then I think we are being very successful.”


      The House that Soy Built, Profit said, is a way for the soybean council to build trust with producers and with the public, that the council is investing in projects that will ultimately increase the use and consumption of soya.


      ”This is positive proof of what has happened with soy, and of what can happen,” he said. “The case for positive results from soy research become more compelling every day.”

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