New Stepan Agricultural Innovation Center Construction Nearly Complete

March 1, 2021

 

The new Stepan Company Agricultural Innovation Center in Barrow County, Georgia, is closer to opening as onsite construction wraps up this month. Strategically located near Stepan’s manufacturing site in Winder, Georgia, the investment is intended to facilitate collaboration with customers and further improve Stepan’s research and development in the agricultural industry.

The Agricultural Innovation Center will include a greenhouse for live plant testing and research, a training center for formulation development, a spray chamber for studying driftable fines, a Class II lab to support biological formulation development, and labs dedicated to liquid and dry formulation design and support.

Click on the drop-down menus below to learn more about the exciting features of Stepan's Agricultural Innovation Center.

In addition to studying driftable fines in commercial formulations, the spray chamber will also be used to develop innovative solutions to minimize the formation of these fine particles. As new drift reduction products are developed, the spray lab will allow for instantaneous evaluation of performance to support rapid prototyping and commercialization.

The training center for formulation development will include a Stepan Virtual Collaboration Lab where technical experts can offer real-time customer support and training from any location with internet connection using web meeting technology. With this interactive digital tool, Stepan will be able to offer live hands-on formulation training to customers wherever they are.

The Agricultural Innovation Center also will be Stepan’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified facility. A LEED-certified building includes features aimed at promoting energy and water efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, improved indoor air quality and reduced environmental impact. Here are some of the features of the new facility that will contribute to the certification:

  • More than 48,000 square feet of native plants
  • Collection and reuse of rainwater for 100% of the facility’s irrigation needs
  • Plug-in option for hybrid or electric vehicles
  • 10 kilowatt solar panels to offset about 10% of the total building energy load
  • Interior design features for enhanced natural lighting and energy efficient LED light fixtures
  • Living wall with plants to improve indoor air quality
  • Building’s external color to help reduce heat absorption
  • Insulated metal panels for superior insulation performance that also uses Stepan polyester polyol technology
  • High efficiency HVAC system and low flow fixtures to reduce water usage

“[The Agricultural Innovation Center] is a testament to our commitment to safe and sustainable agriculture, our customers’ growth and to farmers worldwide who face ever-increasing challenges that require new innovations,” says Jason Keiper, Stepan Company Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer.

The temperate climate in Georgia will enable Stepan to test year-round and help accelerate the rate at which products are moved to large-scale production.

Stepan also expects the facility to contribute to the development of the agricultural industry in Barrow County in the future. Near the University of Georgia, Emory University and other academic institutes with strong agricultural programs, Stepan hopes to be a resource for students and stimulate economic growth for area residents. 
 

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