By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off
New research funded by farmers is proving how the soybean industry can benefit the petroleum industry. Research currently underway at Airable Lab is creating possibilities. Airable Research Lab is a soy-based research and development project funded by the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off. The lab is equipped to research and develop new products that utilize soy-based feedstocks to solve industrial and consumer challenges. Their product design is based on key performance indicators provided by their clients. The Airable Research Lab leverages its intellectual property and utilizes other tools to accelerate the research and development process.
Airable Lab Director, Barry McGraw, says that they have been working with a company from the State of Texas to develop a scale inhibitor for the oil and gas industry. “We are in the process of scaling production of that up in Columbus,” said McGraw. “We are using a producer in Columbus, and we will hopefully be producing 200 gallons of material for trials and for product sales by the end of the year.”
A research and development laboratory has its highs and lows. “We are a research laboratory. We don’t produce a specific product, so our cycles are unique. I’ve been working in this research and development space for 24 years, and it can be like a rollercoaster,” said McGraw. “There are ups and downs when we are waiting for feedback after we send samples to companies,” said McGraw. “The companies evaluate the samples and send us feedback. That can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months. Once we get that feedback it gets really busy, working to reformulate the product to meet their specific needs.
Airable laboratory is always busy researching new uses for soybeans. Lately the workload has been even busier. “Commercial and industrial companies are looking for something to brag about to their stakeholders that is biobased or green or renewable.” Said McGraw. “Airable Labs and the Ohio Soybean Industry are well positioned to provide that for them.
Some of the products that Airable Labs has commercialized include Roof Maxx™ which is a biobased product that uses Soy-Fusion Technology to both clean and extend the life of roof shingles. DeWalt Bar and Chain Oil that is soy-based and biodegradable, and Soy-Based Polyol with replaces oil-based polyols used in furniture, automobiles, and paint.