From Crude Soybean Oil to Value-added Novel Bio-resins: Non-isocyanate polyurethane and Aromatic epoxy networks
Industrial UsesOil
Lead Principal Investigator:
Kasi Muthukumarappan, South Dakota State University
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
The proposed strategy starts with crude soybean oil, which will be used to produce epoxidized soybean oil (ESO). The ESO will be employed to produce thermosetting epoxy materials with aromatic networks, and non-isocyanate polyurethane (NIPU) networks. Aromatic-containing ESO-based thermosets can be engineered for production of bio-composites, adhesives, or surface coatings. NIPU networks are suggested to be produced and can be interchangeably employed wherever polyurethane is used. Successful outcomes of this project will result in the fabrication of a two novel resins, based on soybean oil with a high market value.
Key Beneficiaries:
#engineers, #farmers, #scientists
Unique Keywords:
#bio-resins, #new uses, #polyurethane, #soybean oil
Information And Results
Project Summary

Regardless of the high potential to be used in the industrial applications, it is estimated that just up to 20% of the produced soybean oil (SO) is used for the industrial applications, and the rest is refined for cooking, or simply used for the biodiesel production, often with a low profit margin. The United States is the world’s leading soybean producer, with a huge surplus of SO. This surplus of SO, which is currently exported with a low cost, can be well-employed to promote the economy of the soybean-producing states, i.e., South Dakota State. In this proposal, the route for the synthesis of two novel value-added products from SO is presented. Herein, after a careful study of the SO current applications, the involved chemistry, market derivatives, and based on group’s 6 years of experience in the resin field, a new platform for the utilization of SO has been proposed. SO (with a current value of US $0.6-0.7 per liter) can be readily used for the production of epoxidized soybean oil (ESO). This ESO will be employed for the production of a couple of novel bioresins, i.e., non-isocyanate polyurethanes (NIPUs) (the conventional polyurethanes are traded at up to US $10 per liter- estimates are even higher for NIPUs) and for the aromatic epoxy-networks form SO and eugenol (conventional epoxy resins are currently traded at US $3 per liter). The economy of the products seems to be alluring: we estimate an investment of US $500,000 for stablishing a small-size plant, results in an annual benefit exceeding US $150,000. Moreover, the proposed strategies for the synthesis of these resins are of conventional types- used for well-known poly-condensation and radical polymerization processes with minor modifications. The establishment of the technology is rather feasible: the future scale-up of the processes was considered carefully, the use of complex technologies, expensive solvents, toxic organometallic catalysts, problematic reactants, and expensive separation-purification steps have been avoided. Details of the methods will be discussed in the subsequent sections in brief.

Project Objectives

Phase 1: Fabrication of soybean-based thermosetting epoxy materials, with aromatic networks (Synthesis, Characterizing, Fabrication of the biocomposites, and Evaluation of the mechanical properties)
Phase 2: Synthesis and characterization of the non-isocyanate polyurethane (NIPU) networks

Project Deliverables

Successful outcome of this project will result in the fabrication of two novel resins, based on SO with a high market value. The project has been designed in a way that different phases could be pursued independently and simultaneously. Both phases would have a significant novelty, which guarantee the publication of the results in the prestigious journals, after submitting invention disclosures. The successful outcome of the project would have the potential to be filed for a patent which can be used for the production of the resins, exclusively. Farmers are encouraged to invest and collaborate on the patenting process, further economical studies, as well as stablishing the farm-factories in case of successful results. The process has been designed with scale-up considerations to be easily applicable, and scale-up considerations are not just dreams. The outcome of this project would be the cornerstone of our future plans for more collaborative projects between different parties, working on the functionalized resins. The inventions of this study have the potential to be patented and will be disseminated through webpage development, newsletters, publishing articles and presentations in various national and international conferences.

Progress Of Work

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Final Project Results

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

Use of soybean oil (SO) for the production of value-added products is a promising strategy and would be beneficial for the economy of provinces involved in the culturing of the soybean and promotes the welfare of farmers. Nowadays, SO has various established industrial applications, ranging from epoxy resins (epoxidized soybean oil – ESO) to pressure-sensitive adhesives, paints, etc. Nevertheless, it is estimated that just up to 20% of SO is used for these industrial applications, and the rest is refined for cooking or used for the biodiesel production, often with a low profit margin. Therefore, incentives exist for increasing the contribution of SO in the production of value-added products, and seek for new soybean uses/market development. This perfectly justifies the need for finding green routes to produce substitutes for the conventional materials or synthesize new products with better environmental and economic profiles.

The United Soybean Research Retention policy will display final reports with the project once completed but working files will be purged after three years. And financial information after seven years. All pertinent information is in the final report or if you want more information, please contact the project lead at your state soybean organization or principal investigator listed on the project.