Leaders from the United Soybean Board, American Lung Association and vehicle fleets are celebrating the implementation of an educational curriculum as part of the inaugural National Bioproducts Day on March 8

The Biobased Academy aims to communicate the operational, health, safety and environmental benefits of implementing biobased products to fleet professionals and technicians. Since the program’s launch in October 2022, more than 30 fleet leaders from 20 communities have completed the course. 

The unique collaboration provides workers with an understanding of the safety benefits of utilizing alternatives to traditional petroleum-based products like vehicle fuel, rubber, lubricants or plastics. Soybean farmers have collaborated with the fleets to identify product needs and fund research in the specified areas. The increased demand for soy-based products opens new markets for the commodity. 

Jim Hineson, sustainability coordinator for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, oversees a city fleet of 3,000 vehicles and seven automotive shops. He is a Biobased Academy participant and has implemented B20 biodiesel in 100% of the fleet's diesel-use vehicles, as well as degreasers, lubricants and an array of other renewable products. He plans to assign the curriculum to his staff.  

“It's a great education piece,” Hineson told Agri-Pulse. “It makes you think a little bit outside the box.” 

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Participants that complete the training gain a comprehensive overview of soy-based bioproducts, opportunities to reduce their fleet's environmental footprint and training to assist in the implementation of soy-based products. Educational modules, assessments and videos are all included in the program. 

Long-term carcinogen exposure from chemicals found in traditional petroleum-based products can impact reproduction, breathing and cause cancer, according to Angela Tin, the vice president of environmental health at the American Lung Association. Health effects occur when people, including fleet workers, are exposed to substances over time. 

"Respiratory health is very important," Tin said. "If you can't breathe, nothing else matters." 

Those interested in completing the Biobased Academy can contact the United Soybean Board for a code to complete the program cost-free. 

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