By Liz White, UT staffWashington-A chemist at Pittsburg State University in Kansas has been given the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) 2005 Glycerine Innovation Award for work on using glycerine as a crosslinker in soy-based polyurethane materials. The award-a plaque and $3000-was presented to Dr Andrew Guo at the Annual Meeting & Expo of the American Oil Chemists' Society, held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Guo's research involves uses of glycerine-a renewable material-as feedstock for high-performance plastics, said an SDA statement. He was instrumental in the invention and the commercialisation of the soy polyol at the Kansas Polymer Research Center at Pittsburg State University. In conjunction with Cargill Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Guo's soy polyol has passed the pilot-plant stage, and shows potential as a replacement of petroleum-based polyols, said the statement. Here glycerine is used in large quantities, as a crosslinker, to make the soy-based PU more rigid, and in the process increased the use of renewables. According to the SDA release, Guo thinks production of the soy polyols could lead to the use of 4540 tonnes of glycerine annually in the US, and a further 1360 tonnes worldwide. "