Castor Oil Polyurethane Biopolymer – An Emerging Application of Castor Oil – Part I

Biopolymers are an emerging application of castor oil and its derivatives. These biopolymers include castor based polyamides and castor based polyurethanes. (See also Castor Oil Biopolymers – Part II)

Castor Oil Polyurethane

Castor oil is increasingly finding application in the manufacture of polyurethane foams. The polyurethane is produced from polyols based on castor oil.

The world polyurethane market size is over $50 billion.

Features of Castor Oil Based Polyurethane:

Castor oil polyurethane is

  • Superior to PPG (Polypropylene Glycol) or polyester in water and hydrolysis resistance
  • Superior to PPG or polyester in insulation
  • Lower viscosity than polybutadiene or polyester
  • A challenging issue of polyurethane flooring is heat and humidity. The urethane produced from castor oil is stable under high heat and humidity.

Castor Oil Polyamide Biopolymer – An Emerging Application of Castor Oil – Part II

Biopolymers are an emerging application of castor oil and its derivatives. These biopolymers include castor based polyamides and castor based polyurethanes. (see also: Castor Oil Polyamide Biopolymer – Part I)

The world polyamide market size is over $25 billion.

Some prominent companies working on castor based polyamides and engineering plastics are:

Company Polyamide
Arkema 6,11
BASF 6,10
Du Pont 6,10; 10,10
DSM 4,10
EMS 6,10; 10,10; 10T (PPA)
Evonik 6,10

Castor Production in Brazil

Some key factoids on castor crop production in Brazil:

  • The castor-oil plant is an ideal crop for the extensive semi-arid region of northeast Brazil. It holds some four million hectares of appropriate land that could yield up to 6 million tons of seeds per year.
  • Brazil was a global leader in castor cultivation decades back. But there has been a significant reduction in castor cultivation in Brazil for some time. Now Brazil and China have started to show signs of expanding their production base. But the increases have not been significant enough.
  • Brazil has a National Biodiesel Strategy which proposes castor as one of the feedstocks for biodiesel production. Planting of castor is also being promoted especially in the north east.
  • Israel’s Evogene, which specializes in genetic modification of plants for industrial purposes, has signed a deal with Brazil’s Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) in Oct 2014 to develop technologies for the advancement of castor cultivation in Brazil.
  • The cooperation will focus primarily on technologies for controlling castor-specific diseases as well as practices for castor cultivation in rotation with soybeans.

See this post for details on quantum of castor crop production and castor seed yields in Brazil.

Prominent Castor Companies in China

China is the second largest producer of castor seeds and castor oil, though admittedly, a distance second to India.

The below table provides details of most prominent companies in the castor oil industry in China and the products produced by them.

Company Products
TongliaoTongHua Castor Chemical Co., Ltd Castor oil basic grades, DCO, DCO, 12-HSA, Sebacic Acid, Sulphonated castor oil, Li, Mg, Al 12-HSA, Other stearate products and Dioctyl Stearate (DOS), etc
Zouping County Tianxing Chemical Industry Co., Ltd Castor oil basic grades, Sebacic acid, Dimethyl sebacate, Dibutyl Sebacate (DBS), 2-Octanol, 12-Hydroxy Stearic Acid, Castor Cake
Liaoyang Huaxing Chemical Co., Ltd Specialty chemicals from castor oil

Current Applications of Castor Oil & Derivatives

Castor has one of the most diverse set of applications among all plant oils.

This post reviews and summarises the key current applications of castor oil and derivatives. Another post of mine looks at emerging applications of castor oil derivatives.

The current applications of prominent castor oil derivatives.

Blown Castor Oil Potential replacement for phthalates, used primarily as a plasticizer for lacquers, inks, adhesives, hydraulic fluids and leathers.
Sulfated/Sulfonated Castor Oil Synthetic detergent, used in bath oil recipes along with fragrance or essential oils, or in shampoos, used in agriculture as organic manure
Hydrogenated Castor Oil Used in polishes, cosmetics, electrical capacitors, carbon paper, lubrication, and coatings and greases, use in cosmetics, hair dressing, ointments
Sebacic Acid Sebacic acid and hexamethylene diisocyanate produce Nylon 6-10, used as an intermediate for aromatics, antiseptics and painting materials
Ricinoleic Acid Uses include, coatings, plastics, inks and cosmetics, Ricinoleate soaps have been patented as algaecides for aquaculture systems.
2-Octanol(Capryl alcohol) Main raw material for some esters, used as a solvent, dehydrater and antibubbling agent,  used as fiber oil
Castor Seed Residue, also called Castor Meal Fertilizer and as fuel
12-Hydroxy Stearic Acid (12-HSA) Used in grease manufacture, plastics lubrication.
Dehydrated Castor Oil (DCO) Used to improve the quality of house paints, enamels, caulks, sealants and inks. It is used as primary binder for house paints, enamels, caulk sealant, and making varnishes

Emerging End Uses and Prominent Emerging Applications for Castor Oil & Derivatives

Castor oil and its derivatives have great potential to be used in various fields. This blog post reviews the key end uses and applications for the oil and derivatives:

  • Polyurethane – Castor oil based polyurethane foam and adhesives
  • Ethanol lubricant – Ethanol has no lubricating characteristics. Castor oil is one of the few lubricants that blend with alcohol.
  • Binders – Use of castor oil in the preparation of oil-based binders
  • Treating unique ailments – Use of castor oil in treating some unique gland ailments
  • Unique Coating applications – Acetoacetate esters from castor oil are being tried to formulate thermosetting coating compositions.
  • Unique resins – Oil-modified alkyd type resin based on secondary esters of castor oil
  • Food Grade Plasticizers
    • In July 2005, Denmark’s Danisco A/S announced that it has developed a non-phthalate plasticizer based on castor oil. This food-grade plasticizer for flexible PVC has been developed as an alternative to phthalates.
    • Grindsted Soft-N-Safe is made from fully hardened castor oil and acetic acid. The product has been approved by the EU for food-contact applications and is expected to find future uses in toys and medical equipment.
  • Bioadhesives
    • Modification of the biopolymer castor oil with free isocyanate groups to be applied as bioadhesiveSurgical adhesives have been used for several applications, including haemostasis, sealing air leakages and tissue adhesion.

Prominent Emerging Applications of Castor oil are:

  • Biopolymers
  • Personal care
  • Other specialty chemicals
  • Biofuels

Prominent Indian Companies in Castor Oil and Castor Oil Derivatives Production

This blog post provides a list of prominent companies in India producing castor oil and/or derivatives.

The major companies in castor oil and derivatives production are listed below.

Company Major Product
Jayant Agro Organics Castor Oil basic grades, Castor Oil Pale Pressed Grade, Castor Oil Neutralised Grade, Castor Oil Pharma Grade.
Gujarat Ambuja Exports Castor Oil and Castor Meal
NK Proteins All basic grades of castor oil, Ricinoleic acid, Hydrogenated Castor Oil (HCO), 12-HSA
RPK Agrotech Basic grades of castor oil, hydrogenated castor oil (HCO) and 12-HSA
Gokul Overseas Castor Oil basic grades , Hydrogenated Castor Oil, 12 HSA,Ricinoleic Acid
Adya Oil & Chemicals Ltd. Castor Oil basic grades, HCO, 12-HSA
Sree Rayalseema Alkalies & Chemicals Ltd. Castor Derivatives and Fatty Acids.
N.K. Industries Castor oil basic grades, Castor De Oiled Cake (D.O.C), Ricinoleic Acid (R.A.)
Amee Castor & Derivatives Hydroxyacetic Acid, 12 HSA, Cosmetic Grade 12 HSA, HCO,  Ricinoleic Acid


Production of Castor Seed – Global & India Production Status

It is well known that India is the world’s largest producer of castor seed.

This blog post provides brief details of the castor seed production status for India and other main castor producing countries.

Castor Seed Producers 

Castor Seed Exporters

In the global sector, 85% of castor seed comes from India (which includes 76% from Gujarat, 13% from Andhra Pradesh, 9% from Rajasthan and 3% from other states), 7% from China and 2% from Brazil.

The following table provides an outline of production rates of castor seed by different countries over the period 2011-2014.

Country 2011-12(million tons) 2012-13(million tons) % of total in ‘11-12 and ‘12-13
India 1.57 1.14 79% & 76%
China 0.18 0.18 9% & 12%
Brazil 0.14 0.08 7% & 5%
Rest 0.12 0.10 6% & 7%

Castor Oil & Derivatives Global Trading

Castor Oil Importers

Main importers of castor oil and basic derivatives are

  • European Union (imports 100,000+ T annually)
  • China (imports over 100,000 T annually)
  • USA (imports 300,000-500,000 T per year)

Main importers of castor cake are South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Iran, and Thailand. A large percentage of imports of oil and cake are from India.


Castor Oil and castor Oil Derivatives Production in India

This post provides details of castor oil and castor derivatives production in India.

Castor Oil Production

The castor oil production in India was 0.55 million tons in the year 2011-12 and 0.56 lakh tons in 2012-13.

Country 2011-12(million tons) % of world total 2012-13(lakh tons) % of world total
India 0.55 79% 0.56 82%

Castor Derivatives Production

The production range of various castor oil derivatives is given in the following table expressed in tons/annum (TPA).

 Castor Oil Derivative Name Installed Capacity TPA
Hydrogenated Castor oil 50,000
12-Hydroxy Stearic Acid 30,000
Dehydrated Castor Oil 17,500
Ricinoleic Acid (RA) and Methyl Ricinoleic Acid 6,500
Blown Castor oil (SCO) 2,500
Sebacic Acid 10,500
Undecylenic Acid and their Salts 2,500
Heptaldehyde 1,500
Ethoxylated Castor oil 3,000

Castor Farming in India – Structure, Constraints and Contract Farming

Castor Farming Structure in India

In India, there are both independent farmers and contract farmers, but the significant majority comprises independent farmers. There are thousands of small, independent castor crop farmers in India, ownership ranging from just a couple of hectares to hundreds of hectares.

Constraints Faced by Indian Castor Farmers

The constraints reported by farmers include

  • Poor monetisation of their crop
  • Harvesting problems
  • Occurrence of pests and diseases

Castor Contract Farming in India

Even in contract farming, it has been seen that contract periods are not long duration, typically a couple of years.  However, some recent efforts are made by corporates to do contract farming in Gujarat, AP and Odisha.

It is observed that the cultivation of castor under contract farming is a profitable proposition under dry land condition, and estimates suggest that the returns are more remunerative than in the case of independent farming.