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Launch of the EcoXtract® Proteins project: a 100% biobased extraction solution

PRESS RELEASE - Pennakem Europa, INRAE, the Carnot Institute France Futur Élevage and Avignon University launched on December 8, 2021, the EcoXtract®Protein project which has been selected for a total financial support of 4.8 M€ within the framework of the PIA program[1] operated by ADEME. EcoXtract®Protein aims to bring to the feed market a 100% biobased and safe extraction solution for oils, plant proteins and natural ingredients. This technology will offer an alternative to the current extraction technique using hexane.

Published on 17 December 2021

illustration Launch of the EcoXtract® Proteins project: a 100% biobased extraction solution
© David Lee Photography

Pennakem Europa, a unit of the Minafin Group, coordinator of the project, together with INRAE and Avignon University, are pleased to announce that major financial support of nearly five million euros has been granted by ADEME, the French government's ecological transition agency, to develop the project. When not labeled organic, the extraction of edible oil, the production of vegetable proteins and natural ingredients on an industrial scale implies the use of hexane, a solvent from the petrochemical industry.

The project will produce soybean, rapeseed and sunflower defatted meal [2] in an experimental plant in Bordeaux using the EcoXtract® biosolvent. These products will then be tested in animal feed by INRAE teams, members of the Carnot France Futur Élevage institute, to assess the health value of the ingredients both on farm animals and in aquaculture. These trials will help the optimisation of the process simultaneously carried out by Avignon Université.

EcoXtract® is a biobased solvent made from sugarcane co-products. This product has been used for 14 years for production in the pharmaceutical industry. It is recognized by pharmaceutical experts as a product with low toxicity for human health (same classification as ethanol). The CO impact of its production is ten times lower than that of a petrochemical solvent.

Providing a limited number modifications, EcoXtract® can be used in plants originally designed to run on hexane.

All of these strengths have enabled us to meet the requirements of the specifications of the DTIGA (Demonstrators and Innovation Territories of Great Ambition) - Bioeconomy and Environmental Protection project and henceforth to be a winner of the Investments for the Future program (PIA).



[1] PIA: Program set up by the French government to finance innovative and promising investments in the country, in order to enable France to increase its growth and employment potential. 
[2] The meal is the protein-rich, low-fat product of soybeans, rapeseed and sunflower seeds for use in animal feed.

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