OSC and Battelle Celebrate 20 Years of Collaboration

March 10, 2015 Ohio Soybean Council

Over the last 20 years, numerous soy biobased products have been developed through a strategic partnership between the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and Battelle Memorial Institute – a private not for profit, applied science and technology development company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

A recent focus of the partnership has been education and awareness of biobased technologies that have been developed as a result. Therefore, a display inside Battelle was created and features a combination of success stories of soy biobased projects as well as new technologies that are available for commercialization. Developed with the future in mind, the selected products are interchangeable and can easily be updated to remain relevant or target the interests of specific groups that may be visiting the building.

“Our focus for this project was to develop a display that showcases the success of the partnership and the great strides we have made for the Ohio soybean market,” said Patrick Knouff, OSC chairman and soybean farmer from Shelby County. “Being able to put these products on display at Battelle is an ideal way to get them in front of a variety of audiences that may be looking for the unique benefits a soy biobased product has to offer.”

OSC and Battelle have had many product success stories arise from the collaboration, including a suite of products that have won R&D 100 Awards, which identify and celebrate the top technology products of the year.

“We have anyone from school age children on tours trying to figure out what science is all about to companies that are interested in licensing specific technologies. The display really highlights the different technologies the collaboration has created,” said Megan Moore, program manager at Battelle who manages their materials-focused biobased initiatives including the projects conducted in partnership with OSC. “Through the history of almost 20 years we’ve been able to stay relevant and maintain a strong partnership for products that are still commercially viable and desirable today.”

Many companies that adopt the soy-based products are looking for a more environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable product. Often times it is a result of consumer demand, but there is frequently an additional performance benefit or cost savings over a petroleum-based product.

“Historically, the products created have focused on industrial products that go into everyday household items such as polyurethane foams that might go into structures in your refrigerator or flexible foam in the seats of your vehicle. The personal care market is also evolving as people tend to like soy biobased and agriculturally derived products when things are close to their bodies, so cosmetics and similar products are an emerging market,” said Moore.

Looking at the big picture, any successful product from this relationship has the potential to grow value for Ohio soybean farmers by increasing the viable uses and demand for soybeans.