INDIANAPOLIS — Three-dimensional printers take images and
turn them into tangible objects. A new, soy-based 3D printing material was
invented as part of the 20th annual Student Soybean Innovation Competition.
Three Purdue University students won first-place honors
along with the People’s Choice award for a total prize of $20,500. Their
product, FilaSoy, is a renewable recyclable soy-based filament that can replace
more toxic petroleum-based plastics.
“Last semester, I took a class where we created a toy and 3D
printed it,” said Carmen Valverde-Paniagua, a senior in mechanical engineering.
“Learning more about the printer, we saw the potential to
get into an exciting, hot industry and give it a green twist with our product.
We came up with over 30 ideas. This one came out on top.”
Paniagua worked with Nicole Raley Devlin, doctoral student
in chemical engineering, and Yanssen Tandy, a senior student in chemical
engineering. They competed against 14 other teams, a record number of
“She has worked so hard at Purdue,” said Paniagua’s mother,
Carmen Paniagua Quiñones. “Many times, I’d go and visit, and she was exhausted,
but it paid off. This is the second time she has won first place in the
Her previous win was for an invention called Soytronics, a
soybean-based resin that can be used to make computer circuit boards.
In second place this year was the team that created Soots,
an organic leather boot conditioner and polish. The team created two forms of
the product: a spray that can be used on faux leather and a solid polish for
genuine leather that also waterproofs the shoe.
The team won $10,000. Members included Sean Anderson, a
junior in forestry; Evan Anderson, a sophomore in agricultural engineering; and
Sara Richert, a sophomore in agricultural engineering,
“We call this an evening of innovation,” said Gerry Dick,
creator and host of INside Indiana
Business . “For a long time, Indiana has done a good job of
supporting entrepreneurs and risk takers — but to have been doing it for 20
years is impressive.”
Since the beginning of the competition, dozens of products
have been invented by Purdue students, including popular soy crayons and soy
The competition gives students a chance to take an idea and
see it through to development and even patenting.
“At Purdue, we’re very focused on experiential learning and
building entrepreneurial talent,” said Jay Akridge, College of Agriculture dean.
“It’s a terrific opportunity to build soft skills — communication, critical
thinking, team building and leadership.”
Students across the university also have a chance to see
what agricultural commodities and byproducts have to offer through the program,
The competition is a joint effort of the Indiana Soybean
Alliance and Purdue.
“When you think about products: bioengineering, biomaterials
— that’s really where the future exists for everybody in this room and for the
rest of the world,” said Bernie Tao, Purdue professor.
“Whether its green products or bioenergy — all of these
products that you see and the legacy that they will leave 20 or more years from
now is really where the future lies for all of us.”