Statue of Liberty.
(National Park Service
story to find out more.
Statue of Liberty Goes Green with Soy
October 19, 2004
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19A biodegradable soy-based
hydraulic fluid developed by U.S. Department of
Agriculture scientists is now being used to operate the elevator system in
the Statue of Liberty in New York
The work is part of ongoing research by scientists with USDA's
Agricultural Research Service to develop
new products from soybeans.
"Our scientists are continuing to find new uses for
soybean-based products that go beyond everyday foods," said
B. Knipling, ARS administrator. "This is the latest example of how our
scientists have found an alternative to petroleum-based lubricants."
Until recently, Lady Liberty's elevator ran on mineral oil
formulations derived from petroleum. In February 2002, Jeff Marrazzo, the
building and utilities foreman for the National
Park Service on Liberty Island, N.Y., contacted
Erhan, an ARS chemist in Peoria, Ill., about an idea for an environmentally
Marrazzo had learned of Erhan and colleagues' development of
printing inks and other vegetable oil-based products at the ARS
Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria. Marrazzo asked
whether Erhan's team could bring that same expertise to bear in creating a
hydraulic elevator fluid that would readily biodegrade in the environment, come
from a renewable resource, be produced by an economical and nonpolluting
process, and meet industrial safety and performance standards.
Of the candidate vegetable oils, Erhan chose soy oil because of
its low cost, chemical versatility and availability as a homegrown resource. At
the ARS center's
and Industrial Oil Research Unit, Erhan's team examined the chemical
structure and function of mineral oil fluids and then used the information to
devise their bio-based formulation using modified soy oil.
In tests, the soy-based hydraulic fluid worked as well as or
better than the mineral oil products, particularly in terms of lubricity,
biodegradability and reduced flammability.
Agri-Lube Inc. of Defiance, Ohio, scaled up production of the
soy-based fluid, including a 1,000-gallon batch that's been used to operate
Lady Liberty's elevator since November 14, 2002. Agri-Lube is negotiating with
ARS for licensing rights to commercially produce the soy-based fluid.
about this research in the October 2004 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the USDA's chief in-house scientific research agency.