Many of the research efforts backed by the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff focus on the development of new technologies and products that showcase the unique qualities of soybean components. Often times, Ram Lalgudi is the face behind those breakthroughs. Innovative, forward-thinking and determined are just a few of the words that can be used to describe Lalgudi. At Battelle, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, they have also named him “Inventor of the Year.”
Lalgudi is a senior research scientist at Battelle and holds a doctorate in polymer chemistry from the National Chemical Laboratory, India. He has received wide recognition over his 13-year tenure with Battelle for his work with coatings, adhesives, composites, membranes, encapsulation and medical products.
“Being named Inventor of the Year at Battelle is more than just an honor, it’s a high point of my professional life,” Lalgudi said. “Significant credit for my achievement should go to Ohio soybean farmers. Their focus on developing innovative products based on soybean components is the key for my research inspiration. I feel blessed to work on OSC-funded projects and I know the products resulting from OSC research will significantly improve the quality of our life and the environment.” OSC’s relationship with Battelle has allowed Lalgudi to play a key role in many of OSC’s projects, most recently with improved soybean meal for aquaculture and industrial BPA free coating for the packaging industry.
“Ram Lalgudi has played an important leadership role in the research and development of soy biobased products for OSC. We value Ram’s innovative approach of seeking industry input to help guide his research to ensure that at the end of the day OSC and Battelle have the highest probability of success,” said Patrick Knouff, OSC board member and soybean farmer from Shelby County.
Lalgudi clearly has a firm grasp on the commercial market and finds solutions that meet the demands for commercial licensing and production. He has accumulated 12 granted US patents, 19 pending patent applications and has appeared in more than 25 publications for his developments. Soy biobased products developed over the years by Lalgudi and other researchers at Battelle include soy based inks, coatings, plastics, hydrogels and most notable, a soy based polyol now widely used as a substitute for petroleum when making polyurethanes. Soy based polyol products are environmentally friendly and are often seen as superior to those produced with petroleum.