In many cases, soybean new-use products that have been introduced earlier continue to evolve. The process never ends. Here is a quick recap of some of the most recent and innovative products still in progress.
* Soy Plastics - Urethane foams, urethane binders and agricultural film are the three biggest market segments. Rigid and flexible foams used in insulation and packaging alone could use over 7 million bushels of soybeans annually. Flexible foams are finding their way into products like tennis shoes and automobiles.
* Soy Adhesives - They offer benefits for plywood, particleboard, dimensional lumber and fiberboard used in furniture. Although current usage is small (less than 1 million bushels annually), there's potential for use of up to 180 million bushels of soybeans once research overcomes technical obstacles.
* Solvents - Unlike many industrial solvents, methyl soyate is biodegradable and shows promise for parts cleaning, carrier solvents, and resin removal and cleanup. On the consumer front, products range from car care products to hand cleaners.
* Soy Inks - An old standby product, soy inks continuously show improvement for the printing business. Studies are in progress to incorporate more soy products in water-based inks.
* Paints and Coatings - Since oil-based paints are declining in use in the U.S., soy products have a challenge. To compensate for that 16-million-bushel annual market, a water-based soy primer paint, the first in a new line of interior paints, is expected to be launched sometime this year.
* Harvest Cookies - A new soy nut-chocolate chip cookie containing 6.5 grams of soy protein has been introduced. The cookies are individually wrapped and can be ordered by calling 800-680-5059. So far, they're only available by mail-order.
* Harvest Lights - With a soybean oil base, the candles have a lower melting point, which means cooler burning and faster scent dispersion. They burn about 80% longer than wax candles and give off less soot. For more information, call 888-326-4458; in Indiana call 800-735-0195.