Castor oil as we know a reputed raw material for industrial chemicals is often cultivated and processed in fields and oil mills respectively with synthetic inputs to make it available in bulk with desired properties. However, such pretreatments are longer a valid aspect when oil with quality and sustainability is required for certain subset of applications as production of pure natural cosmetics and related skin care products. This conditional demand faced by Wala Heilmittel GmbH, a German firm to market its completely natural skin products based of cold pressed castor oil had made it to formulate an approach of synthetic components free, organic castor oil exchange with India, involving mutual benefits for growers, processors and consumers. Christine Ellinger, a scientific representative of the firm initiated her actions via contacts with an Indian NGO called Satvik which then functioned with team of eco-minded farmers in cultivation of crops. Her financial assistance to NGO’ advisory council and efforts of Institute of Market Ecology (IMO) certification for product quality successfully boosted up the cultivation of organic castor and the agenda of German firm reached up its peak with co-ordinated assistance from a like minded castor oil entrepreneur, Mr:Nanalal Satra in Gujarat whose dedicated processing facility for organic castor oil production yielded the German raw material of choice ultimately from India.
The face of organic oil cultivation did not wipe off with German initiatives in India but has steadily grown today to a level of 277 tons of castor beans on approximately 1,175 hectares of land with oil yields in excess to supply other prospective companies. The outcomes so far have been fruitful with social and environmental responsibilities and significantly created economic independence for farmers, especially those in Northern arid regions of Kutch who suffered a nightmare in the earthquakes of Gujarat in 2001.
For reference: http://www.wala.de/english/quality/cultivation-projects/organic-castor-oil-from-india/
Castor oil is well known to act as a versatile feed material for the production of a diverse range of chemicals derivatives and polymers are one among the well known class of products derived from this edible oil. castor oil’ anomaly amidst numerous vegetable oils to yield diverse polymer types as polyurethanes, polyesters and poly-amides is greatly attributed to its constituent fatty acid, ricinoleate. From the days of its discovery, chemical exploitation over this substance in the industrial world is never ending to either produce new or polymers with improved functional properties.
To elucidate the comment, German polymer firm, BASF has made an alliance with Ford to supply with polyurethanes derived from castor oil for its automobile panels. Reports from the German manufacturer claim that their bio-product in addition to sustainability and GHG reductions offers its clients with tensile strength, softness and fascinating gesture in the instrumental panels of the vehicle. Ford’ advanced product development engineer also appreciated castor oil for its role in vehicle craftsmanship, mitigation of petrochemical usage and introduction of product novelty to their North American customers.
For reference: http://www.polyurethanes.basf.com/pu/KUInternet/KU/en_GB/content/intranews/News_2011/First_Castor_Oil_Based_Foam_in_the_2012_Focus
Get to know more about related derivatives:
Castor oil, an universally reputed vegetable oil finds inexhaustible applications in numerous industrial sectors with special references to bio-polymer, lubricant, pharmaceutical and surfactant domains. In the list of vegetable oils for biofuels, castor oil equally reserves its position as a promising source but often its demand in non-energy sector and volatile global market availability has shadowed the contribution of castor to sustainable biofuel development. To circumvent the limitations and harness the carbon credits of castor biodiesel and related environmental advantages, German firm Evogene subjected biodiesel from its high yielding lines of castor to GHG life cycle assessment (LCA).
To best realize the complete environmental impacts of castor biodieel as LCA, Symbiotic Engineering conducted the study in two different locations, USA and Brazil for Evogene’ product. Astonishingly, the results indicated that biodiesel production coupled to use from castor reduced GHG emissions by 90 & 75% in USA and Brazil respectively.
Manufacturers of this biofuel were deeply impressed with energy and ecological weightage of castor and Mr. Assaf Oron, Evogene’s EVP Strategy and Business Development announced that “The results of the LCA strengthen our belief in castor bean”.