Taking Soy to the Half-Pipe

September, 2008

Soy is a valuable ingredient in a number of different industrial products and now we can add skateboards to that list. Comet Skateboards has partnered with e2e Materials to develop a new skateboard made from soy-based products. While the soybean checkoff did not fund this project, it does support new uses development for soy.

The new skateboards commercialized by Comet are made from a biodegradable ‘green’ composite material made entirely from plant fibers and a resin derived from soy protein. It is the first product to be made from a composite developed at Cornell University by Anil Netravali. Being fully biodegradable these ‘green’ skateboards can be easily composted rather than sending them to landfills. In fact Comet takes back used or broken skateboards and composts them. e2e Materials that uses Cornell technology has won several awards for its green composites, including the Big Red Ventures Business Idea Competition and the EssentialConnections.com Emerging Business Competition.

The technology that Netravali developed can be used for particleboard, oriented strand board and medium density fiberboard as well. Traditional particleboards contain resins based on formaldehyde, which has been found to be carcinogenic.

The construction industry is reducing its use of formaldehyde-based particleboard, while searching for suitable replacements. The particleboard created by e2e is cost-competitive, and it is several times as strong as current particleboard with less weight and reduced shipping costs. The soy protein based ‘green’ particle boards are being tested at present and should hit the market soon.

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