UI chemistry spinout adds value to agriculture oils
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Pure Oleochemicals, a University of Iowa spinout company, recently received early-stage funding from several private and public sources for its method of purifying agricultural oils for use in soaps, cosmetics, oils, and other consumer products.
The company received funding from private investors, as well as $100,000 from the state of Iowa. The University of Iowa Research Foundation also provided $93,000 to assist Ned Bowden, chemistry professor at the University of Iowa and CEO/founder of Pure Oleochemicals, in product development.
Pure Oleochemicals’ has the only existing filtration method with the potential to inexpensively separate and purify agricultural oils to purities of 80 to 99 percent on an industrial scale. The technology was developed in the UI Department of Chemistry. Various oleochemical byproducts are used in products like biodiesel and dietary supplements such as omega3. Investors have high hopes for Pure Oleochemicals’ future and with the market value for oleochemicals at $7 billion in 2012 and a projected value of $13 billion for 2017, the outcome is promising.
“The fatty acids we are talking about originate from vegetable oils like corn and soybean. We can take those oils and help add more value to them,” says Bowden. “Purification creates more value for the product the farmers already produce, it makes more industrial applications possible and it’s better for the environment; we all win.”