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We are driving change in the chemical industry

When we started up our future-oriented enzymatic esterification plant for the production of sustainable oleochemicals at Oelegem in Belgium, a key aim was to ‘be part of the change you want to see in the world’.

As a global company, we understand how critical it is to limit negative environmental impacts, and that change is only possible when industries work together to adapt, transform, and thrive.

This outlook was echoed by our keynote speaker on our official inauguration.  

Antoine Geerinckx of CO2logic delivered an insightful presentation, entitled, “A Dive into the Climate Journey” in which he highlighted that governments, companies, and consumers must embrace transformation if they want to mitigate the short and long-term effects of climate change.

With our new enzymatic esterification plant, we have taken another positive step in cementing our commitment to building on a greener chemistry, but this did not happen in isolation.

We partnered with seven companies, research organizations, and academics within the EU’s INCITE research program, which are all dedicated to the development of a sustainable European chemical industry.1

What makes enzymatic esterification so innovative is that it makes use of natural building blocks such as proteins or enzymes during processing – as opposed to chemical catalytic systems.

This means that we can now drastically reduce working temperature to ambient as opposed to the 200°C used in standard processes.

These lower temperatures and pressures not only improve process safety but also contribute to better quality products. But one of its greatest benefits is that the enzymatic esterification process can result in an impressive reduction of CO2 emissions of up to 40%, while reducing process waste by up to 60%.

Future-proofing our business

The new site was officially opened by the mayor of Ranst, Johan De Ryck, who was further impressed at Oleon's commitment to minimizing supply chain logistics.

Located along the Albert Canal, our new enzymatic esterification plant is directly connected to the Port of Antwerp, offering a great supply route for the 3,000 tons of sustainably produced esters that will be shipped annually from the site to our global partners.

The Oleon team is incredibly proud that this plant will help pave the way for a more climate-friendly industry in Europe.

Moving forward, we will continue to embrace sustainable methods of production by meeting the targets set out by the EU’s Green Deal that aims to address major environmental, climate, biodiversity, and sustainability challenges in the world.

Watch this space for future developments or contact the Oleon Health and Beauty team if you have any queries regarding our products developed through enzymatic esterification. Simply click here for more information.


Green Chemistry is the heart of our company. We use bio-based materials to supply our customers with the most environment-friendly and safe products.

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