Taking advantage of the residual streams of oils and fats refining

IRODDI is a new BBI JU project in the area of circular bioeconomy aimed to take advantage of the residual streams of oils and fats refining to produce bio-based products in a more sustainable way.
Example of the structural formula of a triglyceride (Source: Wikipedia)

IRODDI (Innovative Refining process for valorization of vegetable Oil Deodorizer DIstillates) is a new project funded by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme (grant agreement Nº 887407) aimed to develop new biobased products using Free Fatty Acids (FFAs) contained in the residual side streams of the refining process of oils and fats, as well as develop innovative technologies for isolation of valuable minor compounds contained in them using softer operational conditions. The 36-months project has virtually held its kick-off meeting last 22nd September and officially started to work together in the planning of the work to be done the next months.

This project is focused on the development of soft greener processes for obtaining bioproducts with specific properties derived from the FFAs contained in deodorization distillates (DODs), the side streams of deodorization processes. These are the last steps in the refining process of oils and fats, where compounds that are responsible for the odor, color, and unacceptable flavor in oil are removed by vacuum distillation. Due to the conditions of the distillation process, some fractions of minor components are also separated and become an important part of the product. Thus, valuable compounds such as tocopherols, tocotrienols, phytosterols, and free esterified, hydrocarbons such as squalene, plus mono- and diglycerides, FFAs, and triglycerides can be also found in the DODs by entrainment.

IRODDI project aims to recover these valuable compounds from the side streams and obtain new, high-value bioproducts as:

  1. Bio-compatible and eco-friendly surfactants with increased solubility in cold water (by chemical neutralization of FFAs with eco-friendly ionic liquids)
  2. Biodegradable base-oils that can be directly used in the formulation of biolubricants (by enzymatic esterification reactions with the deodorization distillates mixtures)
  3. Sustainable polyols synthesis for polyurethanes production (using DODs as raw materials).

IRODDI aims also to retrieve tocopherol and squalene using innovative technologies that do not deteriorate the quality of these components.

The outcomes of the project will be focused on the demonstration of the applicability of these components in different industrial sectors: food-grade detergents (surfactants), biolubricants (base-oils), adhesives (polyols), and cosmetics (minor compounds such as squalene), to contribute -through the bioeconomy- to a sustainable and decarbonized EU by replacing fossil-based materials for bio-based alternatives (biomass).

The consortium is composed of highly complementary partners spread around Europe: FeyeCon and Zer0-E from the Netherlands, Fraunhofer, IoLiTec and Jowat from Germany, Sophim from France, and BIOPLAT, Instituto de la Grasa – CSIC, Kliner Profesional, Sophim Iberia, and the leader, Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation, from Spain.


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