Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes with Soybean Checkoff

Brownfield’s Ken Anderson is participating in the USB “See for Yourself Tour” this week.  You can listen to his reports on Brownfield partner radio stations across the Midwest or check our features section on the Brownfield website to hear, read and view his coverage.   Here’s a taste:

The United Soybean Board’s week-long See for Yourself Tour got underway Monday in St. Louis. It featured a very interesting “behind the scenes” look at Lambert St. Louis International Airport, one of the nation’s busiest airports. Since 1998 the airport has been using a B20 biodiesel blend in all of its stationary generators, airport equipment and firefighting equipment. Fleet manager Mike Bernich told us they experimented with different blends, from B5 to B40, before it was determined that B20 would work best in the St. Louis area. Bernich is totally sold on biodiesel-he says it has increased the life of their fuel injectors and fuel pumps, and the equipment emits a noticeably less offensive odor using the biodiesel blend.

(One little side note to the airport visit. With President Barack Obama scheduled to arrive in St. Louis Tuesday for the major league All-Star game, the U.S. Secret Service was using the airport’s fire house as a staging ground for the presidential motorcade. We got to stand next to the presidential limousine and snap a few pictures.)

USB See for Yourself Tour

From the airport, we traveled to St. Louis University, where Dr. Shelley Minteer and her crew have been focusing on the research and development of glycerol “biobatteries” for portable power (i.e. powering cell phones, laptops, sensors, etc.). Dr. Minteer explained that living cells (i.e. in your body, in bacteria, in soybean plants) have proteins called enzymes that catalyze the oxidation/breakdown of fuel. They are studying employing these enzymes to completely oxidize glycerol to carbon dioxide in a battery to obtain higher energy density than lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries that are currently used for portable power. If successful, it could increase the use time of these batteries by twenty-fold. It’s one of those long-range research projects funded by USB that shows great potential.

On Tuesday, we will visit the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper, which has been using soy ink for the last 10 years, and ARTCO, which operates 2000 covered dry cargo barges and 85 tank barges on the inland river system.

-Ken Anderson

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