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A diaper full of beans

R&D firm replaces polymers in diapers with soybean


COLUMBUS, OH—Battelle, a research and development firm, is attempting to commercialize a baby diaper that uses soybeans in place of super absorbent polymers (SAPs).

The soybean in the diaper replaces a third of petroleum-based products, according to Battelle.

Soybeans are about 20 percent oil, 70 percent soybean meal and eight percent hulls. Soybean meal is the part Battelle scientists use to convert to the SAP.

Battelle conducted the research in collaboration with the United Soybean Board (USB) and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC). Their other recent developments in soy research have included flexible foams for bedding and furniture, toner for printers, lubricants, coatings, plasticizers.

The market for SAPs today is about 1.6 million tons per year, with diapers accounting for 83 percent of that, according to Battelle.


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