Soy-Toner Making a Splash in Color Printing
The Ohio SoybeanCouncil (OSC) and the soybean checkoff funded a research project at Battelle Memorial Institute to develop a soy-based toner for use in printers and copy and fax machines. “We identified an approach to use soy resins and polymers formulated into use for toners for office printers, faxes and copy machines,” says Bhima Vijayendran, Battelle researcher.
The research trial converted soybean oil and protein to a polymer, which was then processed into flakes or powder and mixed with pigments to create the necessary color. The flakes were then melted, ground up and mixed with petroleum-based toner particles. OSC and Battelle not only developed an exciting new soy-based product but also were recognized for the quality of their research. This research won an R&D 100 Innovation Award, which is given by R&D Magazine and recognizes the most significant and technological achievements of each year. The work has moved on from the initial research, and product testing has yielded good results. “The performance and cost are comparable to petroleum-based toners,” says Vijayendran. “Soy-based toner has a lower fusing temperature and is easier to get off the paper, making it better for recycling.” The soy-based toners react easier with de-inking chemicals, such as alkali and water, to remove the ink. Soy-based toners also produce cleaner, brighter pulp and eventually less expensive recycled paper. Soy-based toners are being commercialized by Advanced Imaging Resources. They have worked with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to develop a product that is consistent with federal directives.