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  • Industrial Uses of Agricultural Materials Situation and Outlook Report (7)

    IUS-7, July 01, 1997

    An estimated $110 billion worth of agricultural and forestry products were used as raw materials in the manufacture of industrial (nonfood, nonfeed) products in 1992. Wood and paper products accounted for $96 billion, more than 87 percent of the total. Other fibrous materials, animal products, natural rubber, and vegetable oils were among the other agricultural materials used in the manufacture of nonfood items. Markets are growing for citric and lactic acids, two organic chemicals usually derived from starch and sugar feedstocks. Soybean meal is being used to make adhesives and composites. Soybean oil is finding its way into plastics, inks, and solvents. Special articles examine two specialty oilseeds-crambe production and processing in North Dakota and lesquerella production in the Southwestern United States.

  • Industrial Uses of Agricultural Materials Situation and Outlook Report (6)

    IUS-6, October 16, 1996

    With U.S. farmers now facing few restrictions on what they can plant, industrial crops will need to stay competitive-economically and agronomically-with other crops to ensure their continued viability. The 1996 Farm Act, which provides expanded planting flexibility, makes expected market returns and crop rotation needs or desires important factors as farmers decide which commodities to produce. In 1995/96, industrial uses of corn are expected to total 622 million bushels, down 18 percent from the previous year, mainly due to lower use for ethanol. Ethanol producers are in the midst of a financial squeeze, resulting from rapidly rising corn prices, only moderate gains in coproduct prices, and relatively stable ethanol prices. Tung oil is being produced in the United States for the first time since 1973. Crambe is again being grown in North Dakota after a year of no commercial production. Biodiesel commercialization faces a number of regulatory and market challenges in the United States. Approximately 37 million metric tons of paper and wood materials were recovered for recycling in 1994, providing a renewable source of inputs to manufacturers. Phytoremediation, the systematic use of plants to treat environmental contamination, is a potential low-cost technology that is being investigated to help meet environmental regulations. A special article examines possible biodiesel demand in three niche fuel markets-Federal fleets, mining, and marine/estuary areas-and estimates the potential impact on U.S. agriculture if soybean oil was used as the raw material for the biodiesel.

  • Industrial Uses of Agricultural Materials Situation and Outlook Report (5)

    IUS-5, September 01, 1995

    Research and market demand are opening new opportunities for agriculturally based industrial materials. If biodiesel is approved as a certified technology for the Urban Bus Retrofit Rebuild Program, U.S. transit operations would be able to use it to meet air-quality regulations without any change in operability and maintenance. Ethanol sales in the reformulated gasoline market have been strong, despite the court-ordered elimination of the renewable oxygenate requirement. Cornstarch is used to make xanthan gum, a popular ingredient in food, pharmaceuticals, and industrial products. In 1994, an estimated supply of 10.8 billion pounds of cotton lint, linters, motes, and textile wastes were available for industrial purposes. Essential oils and their derivatives are widely used as flavors and fragrances, a market estimated to be worth $9 billion. A special article examines the expected costs of operating a bus fleet on three different alternative fuels-biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), and methanol-with petroleum diesel as the base fuel.

  • Industrial Uses of Agricultural Materials Situation and Outlook Report (4)

    IUS-4, December 01, 1994

    Market conditions and research increase industrial use of agricultural materials. Industrial uses of corn in 1994/95 are forecast up 12 percent from 1993/94. Most of the increase is expected to be used to make ethanol. Corn also is used to produce sorbitol, a polyol widely used in personal-care products. Meadowfoam, a new oilseed crop grown in Oregon, contains a unique oil that is used in cosmetics and has potential in other applications. As supplies of virgin timber tighten, nonwood biomass fibers, such as straw, and recycled fiber products, such as paper and wood wastes, are being used as raw materials for composite products. Livestock producers who operate large-scale confinement operations, such as dairies and hog farms, are looking for ways to handle and dispose of animal wastes that are cost effective and meet odor and pollution regulations. Farm-level production of biogas (using anaerobic digesters) is one solution that also will help control methane emissions into the atmosphere. Lignin, a common material in trees and woody plants, currently is a byproduct of pulp and paper production. However, research is underway to broaden commercial uses of lignin. One project is assessing the potential for converting lignin into pulping catalysts.

  • Industrial Uses of Agricultural Materials Situation and Outlook Report (3)

    IUS-3, June 01, 1994

    Strong economic growth and environmental regulation boost industrial uses of agricultural materials. One use of cornstarch is in the production of citric acid, the main acidifier (by volume) used by the food and pharmaceutical industries. About 15 percent of the plasticizers produced in the United States is derived from plant matter, mostly vegetable oils, and the market is growing 3 to 5 percent a year. The market for epoxidized soybean oil may expand tremendously if it can be incorporated into paints and coatings to replace volatile solvents. A study found that the energetic and economic feasibility of converting beef tallow to biodiesel was generally positive. The cost of producing tallow-based biodiesel ranged from 92 cents to $1.67 per gallon, depending on the price of the tallow feedstock, the price received for the glycerine coproduct, and the type and size of the transesterification unit.

  • Industrial Uses of Agricultural Materials Situation and Outlook Report (2)

    IUS-2, December 01, 1993

    U.S. agriculture likely will have excess capacity for the foreseeable future. However, technological breakthroughs, heightened environmental awareness, and tougher environmental regulations are creating opportunities to use this capacity to produce industrial products. Although cornstarch dominates the industrial starch market, wheat starch is also used to manufacture industrial products. Because of widely fluctuating world supplies, major castor oil buyers have expressed an interest in U.S. production. In addition, a consortium of industrial, university, and government organizations has come together to commercialize lesquerella. Castor and lesquerella are sources of hydroxy fatty acids used by industry in a variety of applications, including cosmetics, waxes, nylons, plastics, coatings, and lubricants. The 1993 kenaf harvest has been completed in Louisiana and is underway in California, Mississippi, and Texas. In the United States, flax is the most extensively used nonwood fiber employed in papermaking, except for cotton. Animal byproducts are used to manufacture pharmaceuticals with a wide range of applications. A special article examines a simulation model that evaluates the feasibility of a community-based 500,000-gallon biodiesel plant in the United States. Soybeans were found to be the most cost-effective feedstock, mainly because the meal is a useful coproduct.

  • Industrial Uses of Agricultural Materials Situation and Outlook Report (1)

    IUS-1, June 01, 1993

    Recent scientific advances are reducing the costs of producing and processing renewable resources into industrial products. These include advances that make agricultural production techniques more environmentally benign. And the advances in processing engineering-especially in destructive distillation, steam explosion, ultracentrifuges, and membranes-are making agriculturally based products more competitive. The scientific gains, along with Federal and State environmental regulations and growing consumer preferences for "green" products, are increasing the industrial demand for agricultural materials.