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Paving the Way for Growth with Vegetable Oil

To Decatur, Illinois residents, it’s no secret that agricultural products are the town’s lifeblood. But now, some of the streets will literally be paved with them — at least in part. During the 2018 construction season, ADM vegetable oil have been used as an additive in asphalt paving projects in Illinois, including some in Decatur.

It all started a few years ago when a cross-functional, market-driven team from ADM worked to meet the asphalt industry’s increasing demand for consistent, high-quality, cost-competitive, bio-based additives. One of our customers, Seneca Petroleum, was looking to enhance the performance of its asphalt while using more sustainable materials.

"Back in 2015, we used Seneca’s proprietary asphalt blend containing ADM vegetable oil in a few local repaving projects, including a few parking lots at our North American Headquarters,” said Dave Sands, general manager, Specialty Oils. “The product appeared to be more durable, superior to products that used petroleum-based additives alone."

Despite its great performance, there was a roadblock in Illinois: the state limited road construction to petroleum-based products. But after many conversations with multiple ADM groups, in early May of 2018, state officials allowed for the inclusion of vegetable oil and other non-petroleum additives on a specified number of local and state projects.

Over the course of the construction season, Dunn Company used the Seneca Petroleum blend on a number of road projects in Decatur, as part of a testing phase. As more projects feature ADM vegetable oil, it certainly means potential for additional and sustainable growth down the road for ADM.