Expanding Uses for High Oleic Soybeans

How high oleic soybean oil could end up in your engine

The soy checkoff has collaborated with researchers to develop new markets for high oleic soybean oil, and recent results could make your engine a customer for these soybeans.

Most people keep their engines running smoothly with motor oil derived from petroleum. As consumers continue to look for renewable and sustainable options, companies that depend on petroleum search for alternatives, and one company landed on U.S. soy.

Greg Blake of Biosynthetic Technologies says high oleic soybean oil is a good match for the technology his company has developed to make a cost-effective and high-performing motor oil. Biosynthetic Technologies plans to select a site this year for a full-scale plant that will produce high oleic base oil for use in motor oil.

“This first plant will give our customers the confidence to formulate and market motor oil brands containing our products,” Blake says.

High oleic soybean oil caught the attention of Biosynthetic researchers when it performed better than other plant-based oils. Bred to remain stable for high-temperature cooking, that high-heat stability also makes high oleic soybean oil better as a lubricant. Other oils break down at high temperatures.

“High oleic soybean oil is unique in its composition, making it a stronger, longer-lasting oil,” says Blake.

In a recent test, more than 100 taxies running on high oleic soybean oil in Las Vegas recorded better than 3 percent fuel economy savings over petroleum-based motor oil.

The soy checkoff helped fund testing by Biosynthetic Technologies on the motor-oil blend, which contains 35 percent soy. The blend passed critical tests, and the company is moving forward on full-scale production.

Motor oil companies can transition to plant-based oils with the equipment they already have. No extra costs means keeping jobs in the industry and dollars in rural economies.

“Demand for high-performance, environmentally-friendly lubricants from automakers will help drive demand for these premium soybeans that are adding value for farmers,” says Blake.

The new Biosynthetic plant will give U.S. soybean farmers an industrial customer with on-farm applications, so your high oleic soybean crop could come right back to your engine.

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