Local Officials Gather for Biobased Road Sealant Forum and Demonstration

With construction season underway, leaders from private, public and nonprofit sectors came together for an April 20 forum on biobased road sealants and dust suppressants.

The forum provided attendees with a detailed biobased product solution case study courtesy of the City of Hutchinson, from current research and product application through roadway observation. Specific emphasis was placed on the sustainable and economical benefits of biobased products. 

“After a stretch of new road construction, we were looking for a way to seal pavements that would delay by 7-10 years the more intensive chip seal process. And we wanted to utilize the agricultural-based products that are grown in and so important to our region,” said John Olson, Public Works Manager for the City of Hutchinson. “Based on the sealants’ performance over the past five years, we may not have to chip seal until 2022 – far exceeding our expectations.” 

The forum at the Hutchinson Event Center was hosted by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) as part of AURI’s Innovation Network Program, which brings together thought leaders to identify industry needs and implement innovative ideas.

“Biobased road sealants, rejuvenators and modifiers have made significant technological gains in extending road life, which is important to local and state governments,” said Harold Stanislawski, Project Development Director with the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. “Research by the United Soybean Board, through partnerships with major U.S. companies, has resulted in dozens of product introductions. This forum provided space for research to be shared with the an audience who can spur action.”

Also presenting research and expertise during the forum were leaders from:

  • Bargen Inc.
  • BioSpan
  • BioStripe
  • B&D Striping
  • Cargill Industrial Services
  • EDC Dust Control Inc.
  • Metro Paving
  • Minnesota Asphalt
  • North Dakota State University

The forum attracted 50 attendees from around the region who work in public works departments, local governments, educational institutions, laboratories, and agriculture. Organizers hope the in-depth case study and presentation of current research on sealants and dust suppressants will spur more trials in cities and counties across Minnesota.

“We are encouraged and excited to see a city like Hutchinson champion the use of soy-based products after seeing the results and cost savings,” said Mike Youngerberg, Senior Director of Field Services at Minnesota Soybean. “Utilizing a Minnesota commodity like soybeans in road application has benefits to the rural communities in which they are grown, but also to the public and the roadways that benefit from extended life.” 

To learn more about AURI and its services that nurture the growth of biobased products, visit www.auri.org.