When Oleon first partnered with the INCITE project our aim was clear: We wanted to facilitate an industry growth strategy that would enable a climate-neutral and resource-efficient Europe by 2050.
We pride ourselves that we are one of the leaders in Europe when it comes to the production of chemicals based on natural fats and oils. Partnering with INCITE has allowed us to go one step further: to focus on finding a sweet spot and sustainable balance between technical performance and environmental awareness, while keeping to stringent market requirements.
As one of the eight* partners in the INCITE project, we can now keep to our objective while jointly developing new technologies. These include the development of esters through enzymatic conversion, flow chemistry, photoreaction, and membrane separation across a wide range of industries, including personal care. In addition, these technologies could play a vital role in enhancing the competitiveness and economic growth of Europe’s chemical industry.
But wat is enzymatic conversion and why is it sustainable?
Central to the INCITE project is the ability to develop higher performance products with a lower environmental impact through the development of alternative processes.
So, in a nutshell, enzymatic conversion can be defined as a process that takes enzymes and turns them into esters, but at a lower temperature and pressure. The result is a product that uses less energy, impacting on sustainability goals, with additional sensory improvements too. These mainly relate to improved colour and odour resulting in a product with a more natural character when compared to those derived from current chemical catalytic systems.
In addition, our demo scales project LIPES allows us to implement the enzymatic hydrolysis of oils and fats to obtain free fatty acids and glycerol but on a small scale, but it is our aim to have a fully operational pilot plant up and running at our premises in Oelegem, Belgium by the end of 2022.
In addition, it is envisaged that functional products can be derived from free fatty acids, including dimer acids, which in turn can be used to manufacture certain esters.
There are a host of other benefits too including less waste, while targeting specific enzymes will result in fewer by-product that need recycling, while recovery and reuse of enzymes during the process can be enhanced! It will also reduce in reduced energy consumption due to lower temperatures used – this can have a direct effect on energy consumption.
There are currently two product samples available - free of charge. Enzymatic Isopropyl Palminate. This ester is produced by an enzymatic process with lower reaction temperatures than conventional chemical reactions. It can be characterized as a ‘green product’ and offers higher purity; lower odour scored with less VOCs and offer a lower environmental footprint. The other product is Enzymatic Isoamyl Laurate. Produced by an enzymatic process if offer lower reaction temperatures than conventional chemical reactions and offers enhanced purity, less odour, and a lowered environmental footprint. For more information on ordering these samples, click here.
We want sustainability to be at the heart of Oleon’s business ethos and will continue to focus on innovative solutions to make this a reality! For more information visit our website or simply here for more information on the INCITE project.