EU supports EcoXtract project for bio-based extraction


The $3.4 m (€2.8 m) grant is awarded by the European Commission’s innovation council under the Horizon 2020 Fast Track to Innovation programme

Pennakem Europa has been awarded a European Union grant to develop EcoXtract, its bio-based solvent for the extraction of oils, proteins and natural ingredients, as the extract of choice for the global oilseeds sector.

The $3.4 m (€2.8 m) grant is awarded by the European Commission’s innovation council under the Horizon 2020 Fast Track to Innovation programme. It’s the result of a proposal submitted by a consortium of five private-for-profit EU partners. The consortium additionally comprises Vivaorganic, De Wit Speciality Oils, New Holland Extraction and Donal Murphy-Bokern.

Solvent-based extraction of vegetable oil is an essential step for many plant-based products, especially for vegetable oil and protein. Pennakem aims to bring its biobased solvent to the oilseeds processing market, with the hope of providing a safe option for the processing of oil rich seeds such as soybean, oilseed rape, sunflower, and the seeds from a large number of minor crops such as borage, hemp and evening primrose.

The project, “Delivering a new, efficient and biobased plant oil and protein extraction system” will receive funding grant agreement number 970931.

Pennakem and New Holland Extractions are focused on the core engineering challenge of upscaling the use of this solvent. Parallel to this, Vivaorganic and De Wit will lead in the development of value chains in soybean processing and niche speciality oils. Donal Murphy-Bokern will provide support in project management, communications, assessment of environmental and agricultural impacts, and liaison with policy agencies.

“We are thrilled with the European Commission’s decision to support our innovation plans. The grant enables us to combine the technologies, skills and ambitions of five partners in four European countries. This allows us to accelerate our technical development and access pioneering markets at the same time to develop a more reliable, healthier and more eco-conscious oil extraction sector for the food and feed industry” said Laurence Jacques, MD at Pennakem Europa.

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“Leading this dynamic consortium is a great honour for Vivaorganic. All four industrial partners are new to the European Union Framework Programme. With this European Innovation Council grant, the European Commission is investing in us to make a significant contribution to the sustainable development of the oil and protein-based sectors using a European invention and know-how. We are fully committed to giving Europe a good return on this investment, in Europe and world-wide” said Amos Ramsauer, Vivaorganic.