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Oleon opens ‘Europe’s most innovative oleochemistry plant’

Oleon has opened what it claims to be “Europe's most innovative plant for the production of sustainable oleochemicals” at Oelegem, Belgium. Built a cost of €17.4 million, including €13.3 million in European subsidies, this will operate using only enzymes of natural origin and has 3,000 tonnes/year of capacity. It is connected by canal to Antwerp’s port.

“This will enable us to greatly reduce the CO2 emissions from the production of enzymatic esters for the food and cosmetics industries, amongst other sectors, while at the same time producing significantly less waste,” said Jeroen Dirckx, managing director of Oleon’s Derivatives business.

Oleon developed the enzymatic esterification technology in partnership with with seven other companies, research organisations and academics, within the EU’s ‘Incite’ research programme. The process, the company says, drastically reduces the working temperature during the process, while also increasing product quality. It also reduces CO2 emissions from production by more than 40% and waste production by 60%.

Separately, the Kerfoot Group has announced that it will fully transition to the Oleon brand by Q1 2024. The two are sister companies within the Avril Group, an international agro-industrial group based in France. UK-based Kerfoot specialises in natural and organic oils and custom blends for sectors including food, personal care, pharmaceuticals, animal care and general industry.

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