Project Details:

Title:
Road Performance Testing and Promotion of Soy-Based Dust Control

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:North Dakota Soybean Council
Categories:Economics, Marketing, Soybean utilization
Organization Project Code:QSSB
Project Year:2018
Lead Principal Investigator:Jim Bahr (North Dakota State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Keywords:

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

Funding from the ND Soybean Council (NDSC) has made it possible to develop a soy based road dust control agent that has performed very well in lab testing. Further support from NDSC allowed us to begin scaling up the synthesis of this new material for application to a section of gravel road in Cass County (planned for the spring of 2017). Unfortunately, with the end date of the scale up project set for June 30, 2017 we will be limited in our ability to fully track the performance over the entire summer and beyond. Therefore, we are requesting additional funding that will allow us to monitor the dust control performance for the entire summer, fall and winter of 2017-2018. During this time, we will also measure the “fines retention” behavior of the treatment, an important characteristic of a dust control agents’ ability to maintain road bed stability and minimize road maintenance costs. The extended time will also allow us to summarize the results from the entire field test and present our findings at regional conferences/trade shows related to road maintenance/safety and agricultural products. In addition, we will be able to utilize the complete results from the road test to promote the soy based dust control material to state and county agencies. These project funds will be leveraged with a grant from the ND Department of Commerce that will enable us to expand our test area, pursue patent protection, perform a market analysis on the technology and begin commercialization activities.

Project Objectives

1) Monitor the dust control performance throughout the summer, fall and winter

2) Measure the aggregate loss (loss-of-fines) for treated and untreated sections of road

3) Communicate our results at trade shows and conferences

4) Promote the technology to state and local DoT personnel

5) Visit with potential material suppliers and manufacturers

Project Deliverables

Data gathered from this project will give us the full season performance characteristics of the soy-based dust control product that we will then utilize to promote the product to people in the industry. This promotional activity will involve travel to conferences and symposiums that focus on road maintenance, road treatments, road safety and ag based products where we will present our findings and network with county engineers, application specialist and decision makers.

Progress of Work

Updated December 9, 2017:
Research summary
Funding from the ND Soybean Council (NDSC) has made it possible for us to monitor the dust control performance of our road test for the entire summer, fall and winter of 2017-2018. During this time, we will also measure the “fines retention” behavior of the treatment, which is an important characteristic of a dust control agents’ ability to maintain road bed stability and minimize road maintenance costs. We will also summarize the results from the entire field test and present our findings at regional conferences/trade shows related to road maintenance/safety and agricultural products. In addition, we will be able to utilize the complete results from the road test to promote the soy based dust control material to state and county agencies. These project funds will be leveraged with a grant from the ND Department of Commerce that will enable us to expand our test area, pursue patent protection, perform a market analysis on the technology and begin commercialization activities.
Objectives of the research:
1) Monitor the dust control performance throughout the summer, fall and winter

2) Measure the aggregate loss (loss-of-fines) for treated and untreated sections of road

3) Communicate our results at trade shows and conferences

4) Promote the technology to state and local DoT personnel

5) Visit with potential material suppliers and manufacturers

Completed work:
• Attended a road conference in Hutchinson, MN with a focus on bio-based road treatments resulting in interest from several MN DoT personnel and an invitation to submit a research proposal.
• Generated 3 more research proposals (outside of ND Soybean Research Council) that focus on further road testing and development of our dust control material.
• Finalized the crop toxicity measurements on; soybeans, oats, barley, lentils, wheat and sunflowers.
• Performed several measurements of the dust control performance through the rest of the summer season and compared it to the calcium chloride treated section.
• Expanded our patent filing to include the ability of our material to rejuvenate reclaimed asphalt.

Preliminary results:
The soy-based product has shown to be non-toxic to the crops listed above when applied directly to the plant in concentrations consistent with wind drift that might occur during application to a road surface. Previous results showed that it is not toxic to these plants when applied to the soil as well. Road dust measurements taken periodically with our vehicle mounted dust meter show no to little dust generation from the section of road treated with the soy-based product. At the same time, we did see a gradual decline in dust control performance from the calcium chloride section over the summer and fall. We were unable to measure the loss of fines so far this year as the interaction of the soy product with the ground up asphalt present in the roadbed created a tight, solid surface that immobilized the fine particles making the measurement impossible.
Four more proposals were submitted to various agencies with a focus on additional road testing as well as the understanding of the asphalt rejuvenating properties that we observed from our field test. Finally, a one year no-cost extension was granted for our $100k Venture Grant from the ND DoC. This funding will be used address any issues with the patent filing as they arise and further support travel to promote the technology.

Work to be completed:
• Continue to measure the performance of the soy-based dust control agent relative to calcium chloride throughout the winter and spring.
• Continue to pursue funding that can help with the commercialization of this product.
• Perform loss-of-fines measurements in the spring for the treated sections of road.
• Attend additional conferences to promote the technology.
• Follow up with the agribusiness and DoT personnel that participated in our market analysis to keep them informed of our progress and address any issues that they have raised.
• Continue discussions with potential supplies and manufacturers.

Final Project Results

Updated June 25, 2018:

View uploaded report Word file

Road dust is a common problem in rural areas of the US and can lead to health issues for those living and working in these dusty environments. Calcium and magnesium chloride are the most commonly used dust suppressant materials because they are inexpensive and easy to apply. However, salts like these are corrosive to vehicles and tend to wash away in the rain resulting in environmental buildup.

In FY16 we developed a soy based road dust control agent at NDSU by combining soy biodiesel with glycerol (a waste product from biodiesel manufacturing) in a chemical reaction to synthesize a non-toxic, biodegradable and non-corrosive dust suppressant. The following year we scaled up the synthesis to make 1,200 gallons of the product and applied it to a gravel road for testing.

In FY18 we continued to monitor the performance of both our soy-based dust control agent and calcium chloride for one full year at our gravel road test site in Cass County, ND. The data collected with our vehicle mounted dust meter showed that the soy product was as good as the calcium chloride initially, but as time went on, the calcium chloride performance began to decline. By the end of the summer, the dust levels on the calcium chloride section were comparable to the untreated section of roadbed prior to treatment. Fortunately, the performance of the soy product remained exceptional over the summer and its effectiveness carried over into the following spring.

In addition to monitoring the performance of the soy based dust control agent, we were able to promote the technology by attending conferences, writing proposals, and through a marketing survey of people in the industry. These efforts paid off with two new proposals funded and an increased awareness of the product. The new funding will allow us to perform a second road test and study the use of this material as an asphalt rejuvenant.

The market in the US for dust control is quite large with over 1.3 million miles of unpaved roads and over $400 million spent annually to mitigate dust. A dust control product derived from soybean oil and biodiesel waste should increase the demand for these materials and expand the market for soybean oil. In addition, soybean growers who live on gravel roads will benefit from an environmentally friendly dust control product that they can apply to their roads.

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

The successful development of a dust control product derived from biodiesel waste and soybean oil will create a value added product stream for soybean farmers as well as a new market for the biodiesel industry. If successful, ND farmers will also have a non-corrosive, locally produced dust control agent to apply to roads near their property. Project deliverables include progress and final reports as well as a plan to commercialize any inventions resulting from this research.

Performance Metrics

Project Years