Soybean-based air freshener tops in Purdue student contest

March 27, 2015  

Soy Sniffs

Sara Richert is sandwiched between Evan Anderson (left) and his brother, Sean, as they display Soy Sniffs, winner of the 2015 Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition at Purdue University. The students received $20,000 from the Indiana Soybean Alliance for their soy-based invention designed to enhance the smell of homes and cars. Last year, the same group earned the runner-up prize for inventing an organic leather boot conditioner and polish. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A team that created a soybean-based air freshener won the top prize in the 2015 Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Purdue University.

The three students who developed Soy Sniffs will receive a $20,000 prize for their first-place entry in the annual contest, which challenges Purdue students to develop new products based on soybean. This year, 13 teams composed of 39 students competed.

A second-place award of $10,000 went to a team that produced biodegradable flower pots.

The teams will be recognized March 31 at the Dauch Alumni Center at Grant and Wood streets. The 2-4 p.m. event is open to public.

"The Soy Sniffs team has created a unique product with real potential in the $8.5 billion global market for air fresheners and purification products," said David Lowe, president of the soybean industry group and a farmer from Dunkirk. "Every year, it's difficult to judge among so many innovative ideas, and this year was no exception - it's a testament to the ingenuity of our Purdue competitors and the versatility of the soybean."

The Soy Sniffs team members are Evan Anderson, an agricultural and biological engineering major of Churubusco, Indiana; his brother, Sean, majoring in forestry; and Sara Richert, a public relations/strategic communications major of Oak Park, Illinois.

Biodegradable flower pots

Tyler Allen (left), Chelsea Sullivan and Levi Jackson combined efforts to develop biodegradable flower pots and earn the $10,000 runner-up prize in the 2015 Student Soybean Product Innovation competition for Purdue University students. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell) 
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The winning team members made their experience work to their advantage after finishing in second place last year with their organic leather conditioner and polish. Richert said they wanted to create a product consisting of soybean oil since they were already familiar with its properties.

"With today's trend of going green and the lack of organic air fresheners and odor diffusers in today's market, we felt that our product would create and fit its own niche," she said.

All members of this year's runner-up team, with its entry of Soycotta Pots, are from Corydon. They are Tyler Allen, a computer engineering student; Levi Jackson, majoring in agricultural and biological engineering; and Chelsea Sullivan, studying accounting and marketing.

Other entries included a high-performance engine filtration system, a new antifreeze formula and teeth whiteners.

Winning projects in previous years included those that engineered the soybean to make crayons brighter, coats warmer and fireworks more environmentally friendly.

Lowe noted that soybean checkoff programs over the last 25 years helped to bring more than 800 new soy-based products to market.

 "Our Soybean Product Innovation Competition taps into the brainpower at Purdue to grow this list, grow our agricultural economy, and bring new business opportunities to Indiana," he said. 

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722,

Contact: Megan Kuhn, communications director, Indiana Soybean Alliance, 317-614-0377,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

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