Using U.S. Soy to Meet High Sustainability Standards Many Consumers, Companies Now Demand
Biosynthetic Technologies, a manufacturing company in Indiana, focuses its research on high-performing biobased petroleum alternatives. Recently, the company had success with research supported by the United Soybean Board, resulting in a soy-based alternative to petroleum-based motor oil.
Mark Miller, CEO of Biosynthetic Technologies, discussed how the company is also researching biobased lubricants during a webinar he recently led, “Sustainable Lubricants 101,” along with members of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers. He discussed some of the driving factors for using sustainable and environmentally friendly lubricants, sustainability-focused labels and certifications, while also taking a deeper dive into prototype product formulations Biosynthetic Technologies is currently developing.
According to Miller, consumers are setting higher sustainability goals for the products they purchase. When he first began in the industry, having renewable content meant making products from vegetable oils and being nontoxic. But as the industry matures, people want biobased products to work and be equal to or higher performing than petroleum products.
“Biobased lubricants have to be comparable in cost to conventional products or other products of similar performance,” Miller said. “Now, the standard is higher still.”
According to Miller, consumers are looking at the following in a company:
- Carbon footprint
- Total life cycle assessment
- Social impact
- Employment impact
- Substitution of food for fuel or food for lubricants
- Economic impact of the stakeholders
“The bar keeps getting set higher and higher, and so that’s where we play,” Miller said.
With high oleic soybean oil, U.S. soybean farmers grow a great product for companies such as Biosynthetic Technologies that are looking to improve a product’s sustainability while also improving performance. Remaining stable in high-heat conditions, high oleic soybean oil is well-suited for high-temperature automotive and industrial applications. The improved oxidative stability is just one of many attributes that made high oleic soybean oil optimal for Biosynthetic Technologies’ motor oil. Miller now wants to do the same with lubricants — products that often find their way into the environment.
“It’s very hard to prevent a lubricant leak or spill,” Miller said. “They happen suddenly and are unplanned. You’ve got to stop whatever you’re doing, fix whatever is broken and make sure that you clean it up. You lose productivity, and the fines and remediation costs are increasing significantly.”
Biosynthetic Technologies’ inclusion on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Vessel General Permit list — which mandates the use of environmentally acceptable lubricant in all oil-to-sea interfaces — could make its products an excellent choice for marine engines in the future as well. Learn more about the countless ways soy-based technology fulfills the needs of industrial products at soynewuses.org, listen to the full “Sustainable Lubricants 101” webinar here or use coupon code SSCC20 for 20% off the purchase of 6 quarts of 5W-20 or 5W-30 Biosynthetic motor oil. Visit motoroil.biosynthetic.com for more information.