Liberty Island, New York
Until recently, announces the National Park Service, the elevator at the Statue of Liberty used mineral oil formulations made with petroleum. But now, the monument's elevator runs on biodegradable hydraulic fluid made from soy oil. The project goes back two years when Park Service building foreman Jeff Marrazzo contacted a researcher at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization in Illinois asking for such a product. It had to readily break down, come from a renewable resource, be economical as well as nonpolluting, and meet industry standards. Chemist Sevim Erhan of the Agricultural Research Service formulated a new elevator hydraulic fluid using soy oil chosen because of its low cost, chemical versatility, and availability as a renewable, home-grown resource.
Agri-Lube, Inc. of Defiance, Ohio worked with Erhan's lab, developed a product which tested well at Otis Elevator and at Liberty Island. In both tests, the biofluid worked as well as or better than the mineral oil-based formulations. Agri-Lube is negotiating licensing rights to commercialize the patent, and the Statue of Liberty is proudly using the product.