Delaware Start-up Company Produces Bio-Based Oil

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A start-up company from the University of Delaware, USA, has produced a bio-based oil from plant wastes and vegetable oils which can be used as renewable alternative to petroleum-based products in applications from skin lotions to industrial lubricants.  RiKarbon, which means revolutionising the carbon, has made the bio-oil from 50% biomass such as grasses, corn husks and wood chips, and 50% vegetable oil.  Company founder Basudeb Saha said she was working with several companies to evaluate and test the bio-oil in personal care and lubricant applications.  

A 2011 report from the Environmental Protection Agency found that up to 727M litres/year of petroleum-based industrial lubricants are released into the ocean due to leakage or the careless disposal of lubricants from marine vessels and hydropower production turbines. The negative effects on the ocean’s ecosystem had prompted the search for safer alternatives. More eco-friendly cosmetics were also becoming a focus for the personal care industry. Some skin  lotions had potentially harmful ingredients which were not water soluble and created pollution water streams and the ocean. Sunscreen residue, for example, affected the development of marine organisms such as horseshoe crabs and coral. 

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