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New Soy-Based Product Developed to Protect U.S. Roadways
USAgNet - 10/01/2020

A new soy-based concrete sealant is protecting roadways in the U.S. - supporting demand for soybeans and reducing maintenance costs for U.S. infrastructure.

The United Soybean Board has partnered with the Indiana Soybean Alliance on research and market development efforts for soy-based solutions in infrastructure for decades. Now, USB and ISA are proud to announce that select Indiana counties have the opportunity to use a new soy-based sealant, PoreShield, on their bridges - made possible through farmers' checkoff investments.

PoreShield is being applied to 77 bridge decks totaling 330,000 square feet within Indiana this year, with aims to expand use in the future. As PoreShield is adopted as a solution, demand for soybeans grows. On average, PoreShield utilizes 200 bushels of soybeans per mile of two-lane bridge treatment. That's equivalent to 7.5 acres of soybeans for each mile demanded by this market.

"As a renewable alternative, using U.S.-grown soybean oil as a concrete durability enhancer is among one of 1,000 soy-based products currently on the market," said John Jansen, USB vice president of oil strategy. "It unlocks yet another use that drives demand for our soybeans, and with PoreShield, there's enormous potential for roads and bridges that need these critical enhancements."

Water is the enemy of highway structures. Water moves everything on a highway, such as de-icers, salt and chemicals, into concrete pores, where they cause cracks, chips, gouges and potholes. Once the network of concrete pores is compromised, the strength of the concrete crumbles.

In 2008, the Indiana Department of Transportation came to Purdue University seeking a durable and sustainable solution to the costly problem of protecting highway structures. They partnered with USB and ISA and began researching soy methyl ester as an environmentally friendly, longer-lasting alternative.

PoreShield is the result of this research and an innovative way to enhance the durability of concrete and provide more than 10 years of protection. This product is the only effective solution to preserving concrete surfaces, old or new. PoreShield increases service life of concrete by 5 times, is safer and easier for applicators (no required personal protective equipment) and reduces costs.

The applicators have already voiced their strong support for the product, noting the ease and speed of application. Application crews also appreciate not having to take as many precautions when working with the product due to its natural components. With the bridges being completed in one day, labor costs were half of what was budgeted for the project.

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