Lou Honary, director, UNI ABIL, (319) 352-5218
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761
Karel Znamenacek, executive vice president, Crete Carrier Corp., (402) 479-2005
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Crete Carrier Corp. of Lincoln, Neb., one of the entities comprising the Acklie Companies, will expand its use of an all-purpose soy grease developed by the University of Northern Iowa's Ag-based Industrial Lubricants (ABIL) research program. The grease has been used in Crete's Indiana terminal for about six months.
'The semi-truck fifth-wheel grease was introduced in 1998 and field-tested nationwide with superb performance,' said Lou Honary, ABIL director. 'We now use a genetically enhanced soybean oil that allows us to not only meet and exceed the performance of petroleum greases, but also to match the price of the petroleum products.'
Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association, lauded the Acklie Companies and said Crete's use of soy-based grease should go a long way toward convincing the rest of the trucking industry to try soy-based lubricants.
Honary said there are approximately 1.7 million DOT-registered combination trucks using an estimated 20 to 40 million pounds of grease annually, most of which ends up in the environment.
There are no commercial grease-blending facilities in Iowa, but UNI-ABIL is working with a USDA grant to investigate the feasibility of on-the-farm soy processing and grease manufacturing, and has three test sites in Northeast Iowa.
'The research has been done, the technology has been advanced, and now we have a product that is not only good for the environment, performs equal to or better than its predecessors, but also does all this at the same price,' said Patty Judge, Iowa secretary of agriculture. 'We need strong leaders to help carry our farm-based, alternative products into the market.'
Merlyn Carlson, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, voiced similar sentiments. 'Anything we can do to use Midwest-grown renewable lubricants and displace our heavy dependence on Mid-East petroleum is a win-win situation for the trucking industry and for farmers.'
Duane Acklie, chairman of Crete and immediate past president of the American Trucking Association, noted, 'Using the grease in company trucks will also help show viability of the product, which will be essential for creating user confidence in biodegradable products.?
Crete provides transportation services in the contiguous United States, Canada and Mexico. If the ABIL grease continues to perform positively, Crete will convert its total fleet to soy grease. Crete's affiliate companies Shaffer Trucking, Sunflower Carriers, HTL, and Hunt Transportation will convert as well.
ABIL is recognized nationally as a leader in the development and commercialization of soybean-based industrial lubricants. Established in 1991, the UNI-ABIL research program brings together research and testing to identify soybean oil characteristics and match them to appropriate industrial uses.
This year ABIL is licensing 24 industrial lubricants, greases and base oils made of soybean oil. For more information about ABlL, visit the Web site, www.uni.edu/abil.