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Team SoyPods takes third place in soybean product innovation competition

CE sophomore Harshit Kapoor and his team were awarded a third-place prize of $1500 for their soy-based detergent pods in the 2015-16 Purdue Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition.

CE sophomore Harshit Kapoor and his team were awarded a third-place prize of $1500 for their soy-based detergent pods in the 2015-16 Purdue Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition. Other members of the team include Andrew Cameron, a chemical engineering sophomore, and Xuan Luo, an agricultural and biological engineering sophomore. The team was advised by Kelly Blanchard (Management) and Nate Mosier (Agricultural & Biological Engineering).

The product they created is well known to consumers as laundry detergent pods.  Although, structurally the same, they innovated the product by introducing a bio-friendly side to them by the use of Soy Protein Isolate (SPI) to form the outside coating.  Currently, the films for pods are made from polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) which is more damaging to our environment than SPI.  The use of SPI films also allow for a wider range of properties such as solubility, and strength.  The soy also gives the film a yellowish, soy milk color which may be beneficial to help reduce the number of youth mistaking the pods for candy.  Although they only focused on a laundry detergent pod, the same principle can be used for single dose dishwashing detergents.

The purpose of the Soybean Product Innovation Competitions is to encourage Purdue University students to exercise their knowledge and skills in creating new industrial products from soybeans. The use of natural renewable resources for creation of industrial products is a critical factor for future economic growth, given dwindling petroleum resources and increased emphasis on industrial environmental stewardship.

Student teams enter the competition to create novel products or materials using soybeans for their components focusing on the production or implementation of an example product/material. Working in teams, with two faculty advisors, students brainstorm product ideas, create a production timeline, conduct patent searches, develop a market analysis, document the technical process of creating their product/material, design packaging, and market their product/material.

Related Link - An interview with Harshit and his team is posted on the AgWired website