Road Performance Testing and Promotion of Soy-Based Dust Control
Sustainable Production
Economic studies
Parent Project:
This is the first year of this project.
Lead Principal Investigator:
Jim Bahr, North Dakota State University
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
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Brief 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...

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Information And Results
Final Project Results

Updated June 25, 2018:

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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.

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.