D.I.C. for a sustainable essential oil extraction process
August 18, 2022
“Essential oil distillation is energy free”
When you hear that kind of remarks from industry players, it does make you realize that even if you developed a disruptive green technology, economically profitable, it’s going to take time, resilience, and a lot of passion to shake things up!
Today is Earth Overshoot Day, and we have the feeling that people are more interested in its marketing than changing the roots of the problems.
From a final consumer perspective, Ylang-Ylang essential oil for example is just a nice smelling product or one of the compounds in Chanel N°5.
But there is a reality behind that smell. Wood, lot of wood to boil that water used during the several hours of distillation. In an ideal world you could consider that this wood comes from a well-managed sustainable forest, but it does not make it energy free.
Alembic is easy in its principle.
Boil water with plants for a few (or many) hours --> Volatile compounds evaporate --> Cool down the steam and voilà you get essential oil.
1kWh to heat = 1kWh to cool down
In most studies and environmental impact of distillation, that cooling down part also magically disappears. Maybe because you can just waste lots of potable water, or warm up the nearest river so fishes can enjoy a nice jacuzzi.
Our D.I.C. technology has been proven to cut down by impressive ratios the energy required to extract essential oil.
First because we extract faster = Less heating energy
Secondly because the Instant Cooling of D.I.C. makes the cooling part 4 times less consuming!
You can find scientific publications demonstrating the benefits in terms of extraction yields, aromatic profile, and extraction time, on Cananga, Sandalwood, Cardamon, Lavender, Rosemary, Orange peel or even Juniper Berries.
So, what are those 20TWh ?
Worldwide essential oil production is more than 150.000 tons of EO (Essential Oils) per year.
We removed 50% of that, considering it is citrus / orange EO extracted by cold press.
We took a vastly undervalued extraction energy cost of 400 kWh / kg of EO.
We took a worst case scenario of a 3 times reduction ratio in energy cost by switching from Alembic to D.I.C.
20 Twh/year is something like the production of 3 nuclear plants or 75.000 hectares of forest burned.
Those are big numbers, Worldwide projection and rough estimation. But the order of magnitude should not be so far from reality.
Most people don’t care about it and will keep buying their perfume with an innocent mind.
Anyway, we will keep trying to convince some essential oil players, that no, distillation is not free in terms of energy.
And finally, if you have read that far and want to give a boost to what we try to achieve, we are open to funding and take you with us on our trip to make this industry eco-friendly.