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Oilseed Study Turns to Coatings

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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A group of researchers hope to uncover new purposes for the camelina oilseed in coatings, sealants and other applications.

The team—led by Kansas State University Distinguished Professor in Grain Science and Industry Xiuzhi Sun—was recently awarded $5.08 million from the United States Department of Agriculture to study the crop’s potential.


The team is studying how to convert camelina oilseed to produce resins for pressure-sensitive adhesives and transparent coatings.

“The overall goal is to make oilseed camelina a cost-effective bioenergy and bio-based product feedstock,” said Sun, who is the director of the Center for Biobased Polymers By Design.

“This project will generate substantial information that will build a foundation to make nonfood oilseeds a better resource for biofuels, chemicals and bioproducts, with minimal negative impact on food crop systems or the environment.”

Camelina is an oilseed crop in the mustard family, with cultivation dating back as early as 600 B.C. in the Rhine River Valley in Europe, according to industry sources.

In addition to Kansas State University scientists, the research team is also composed of researchers from Montana State University; University of Wyoming; StrathKirn Inc.; SBT LLC; Montana Gluten Free Inc.; and Henkel.

Bio-based Coatings Focus

A primary focus of the research is on how plant and grain-based materials such as oils, proteins and fibers can be used to create bio-based chemicals and products like resins for pressure-sensitive adhesives and transparent coatings that are safer, more environmentally friendly and durable than products currently in use, according to Sun.

wood adhesives
Photo by Keith Weller / USDA

The team also plans to utilize the meals containing proteins and carbohydrates as drop-in products for wood adhesives, Sun said.

“We have successfully used soybean oil as feedstocks for these applications,” Sun told Durability + Design News via e-mail. “[T]he new grant will allow us to convert oils from camelina oilseed to these materials.”

She also added that meals containing proteins and carbohydrates from the crop will be studied for drop-in products for wood adhesives and stabilizers.

Further, Sun will work Donghai Wang, professor in Kansas State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, who will conduct fractionation and processing optimization research in collaboration with industries for commercialization potentials.

“Although camelina is currently grown in Montana and Wyoming, it will expand to the Northern Great Plains area, and it's possible that agricultural producers in Kansas might be interested in incorporating the crop into their cropping systems in the future,” said Sun.

Preliminary work to enhance camelina production by optimizing cropping systems within wheat-based crop rotations has begun in Montana and Wyoming, Sun noted.

USDA Investment

“USDA’s continuing investments in research and development are proving a critical piece of President Obama’s strategy to spur innovation of clean bioenergy right here at home and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack in a Jan. 11 statement announcing several bioenergy awards, including the camelina research.

“The advances made through this research will help to boost local economies throughout rural America, creating and sustaining good-paying jobs, while moving our nation toward a clean energy economy.”

The camelina project funding is part of a $25 million effort by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to fund research and development of next-generation energy and high-value biobased products from a variety of biomass (plant) sources.


Tagged categories: Agriculture; Bio-based materials; Bioproducts; Coating chemistry; Coatings technology; Construction chemicals

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (1/28/2013, 12:59 PM)

My 1939 Gardner paint testing manual has quite the extensive section discussing and testing plant oils: Linseed oil, soybean oil, hemp, cardanol (cashew nut shell) hemp oil, walnut oil, et cetera et cetera. What was old, is new again!

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