ST. LOUIS — A motor oil with a high-oleic-soybean-oil base
just took the next step toward commercialization.
The oil, tested on more than one million miles in 100 Las
Vegas taxicabs, delivered impressive results in tests by demonstrating the
ability to extend the life of engines.
Biosynthetic Technologies, the company that developed this
technology for the past five years, recently achieved certification from the
American Petroleum Institute on a motor oil containing 35 percent of a synthetic
ester, called an estolide, made from high oleic soybean oil.
This certification is expected to facilitate
commercialization of the technology. Farmers and other consumers may see this
high-oleic-soybean-oil derived product in stores in as little as two
“This is a great example of the innovation brought forward
by high oleic soybeans,” said Lewis Bainbridge, a farmer from Ethan, S.D., and
chair of the United Soybean Board’s Oil Action Team. “We have to be patient for
these new products to come to the market, but this is certainly an encouraging
step in the right direction.”
High oleic soybeans, currently grown in select areas of the
U.S., produce oil that delivers higher stability in high-heat situations.
This characteristic makes this soybean oil more attractive
to premium industrial users, such as motor-oil manufacturers. That could result
in big demand for U.S. soybeans and added profitability for U.S. soybean
The API certification verifies the motor oil formulated with
the biosynthetic ester passed the rigorous standards required for motor oil use,
clearing the way for use by motor oil manufacturers. The soy checkoff funded a
project with Biosynthetic Technologies to achieve API certification.
“The motor oil market in the United States is approximately
1 billion gallons per year,” said Greg Blake of the Irvine, Calif.-based
biosynthetic-oil manufacturer. “High oleic soybean based synthetic oils offer
superior performance and benefits to the existing synthetic market and we expect
that market to continue to grow.”
Motor oils made with the new, high-oleic-soybean-based
estolide do not thin out at high temperatures to provide superior engine
protection. The estolide also does not evaporate at high temperatures like some
petroleum oils, adding yet another benefit to the motor oils.
These characteristics offer the potential for longer oil
change intervals, as demonstrated in the field tests conducted on taxicabs in