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Non-Feed and Non-Food Uses for Soybean Oil

It is common knowledge that soybean is a crop that produces seed with both high protein and oil content. The protein component is processed to produce feed for livestock and poultry, and the oil component is processed to be used by the human food industry. Thus, both components occupy a significant niche in both the animal feed and human food sectors of the U.S. economy.

The industrial/consumer products segment of the U.S. economy is now finding that soybean oil can be valuable for uses other than food preparation. Below are recent innovations that include non-food uses for soybean oil.

BIORESTOR Asphalt Rejuvenator. This product from BioBased Spray Systems LLC is a restorative asphalt modifier that is applied just after paving to increase the lifespan of asphalt pavement. Asphalt treated with this bio-based oil (i.e. soybean oil) cracks less, is more flexible/less brittle, and has reduced pot holes. BIORESTOR is applied to preserve and protect asphalt pavements, and to increase their longevity and surface quality.

Goodyear Tires with Soybean Oil. According to Goodyear, the use of soybean oil in their tires improves the flexibility of the tires in lower temperatures, as well as enhancing traction in both rain and snow. Since soybean oil is a natural, sustainable, and renewable resource, its use in Goodyear tires provides yet another market for this versatile commodity that is produced by U.S. farmers. Four of Goodyear’s best-selling premium tires are manufactured with soybean oil. Goodyear has a goal of eliminating petroleum-based oils in their tires by 2040, and replacing them with soybean oil is one way of meeting this goal.

Skechers Goodyear Shoe Line. Skechers has developed and is marketing shoes with Goodyear soy-based rubber outsoles that are touted to have better traction, stability, and durability on myriad terrains and in myriad weather conditions.

ROOF MAXX. As asphalt roof shingles age, they lose their oil component and become dry and brittle. Roof Maxx is a soy-oil product that is applied to aging shingles to restore their flexibility, which allows the shingles to withstand changing temperatures and extreme weather. According to information on the company’s website, a Roof Maxx treatment every 5 years can extend the life of an asphalt shingle roof up to 15 years.

High Oleic Soybean Oil. High-Oleic (HO) soybeans can replace petroleum-based products in some industrial applications. For example, an article titled “High Oleic Soy Roots Itself in a New Use” describes its use as a biobased polymer that can be used in asphalt. Tests have confirmed that HO soybean oil outperforms other oils such as petroleum in asphalt application, and can increase the reuse rate of asphalt grindings. Biosynthetic Technologies has developed a bio-based synthetic motor oil for passenger cars that uses HO soybean oil. The company will market both 5W-20 and 5W-30 motor oil that is biodegradable and is a proven alternative to petroleum-based motor oil. Click here for a recent article about HO soybeans that was posted on this website.

The above products showcase a few of the many uses of soybean oil outside the food industry, and also show soybean’s versatility to supply raw materials that can be used in myriad industrial applications. Much of the research that resulted in the development of the above products was funded by the United Soybean Board, which uses soybean checkoff dollars to identify and advance viable new technologies derived from soybeans.

Composed by Larry G. Heatherly, Sept. 2022,