The chemical industry is currently going through a period of change and adaptation, where mineral oil-derived products are gradually being replaced (or supplemented) by more sustainable alternatives based on plant-derived raw materials. For the most basic chemical building blocks, economics plays a major role in determining when (or if) this switch occurs. Further down the manufacturing supply chain, producers are discovering additional benefits from using plant-derived chemistry, notably:
- Improved human and environmental safety
- Good biodegradability
- Lower fire and explosion risk in processes
- Ease of handling and storage
- New recycling and re-use opportunities
Cargill’s vegetable oils and derived products are natural candidates for replacing mineral oils derived from crude petroleum and natural gas, being substantially hydrocarbon in nature. Cargill's starches and derivatives also provide nature-derived alternatives for thickening, emulsifying, and binding applications.
Some examples of vegetable oil applications
Adjuvants for crop protection formulations: Cargill’s vegetable oils and esters are effective carriers/adjuvants for active ingredients in oil-based formulations. These safe and cost-effective liquid oils are easily emulsifiable, and are rapidly and fully biodegraded in the field.
De-dusting and binder oils: Our oils, fatty acids and other vegetable oil refinery products can used as alternatives to mineral oils as dust binders for a variety of industrial processes. As well as the improvements in health and safety, their biodegradability and superb environmental profile makes them especially suitable for applications such as fertilizer de-dusting.
Tire and rubber products: Vegetable oils have an important role in the effective dispersion of silica and other inorganic fillers in rubber tire production. The improved performance of the tire is especially marked at low temperatures, and the oils are therefore used mainly in winter tire formulations. Vegetable oils can replace mineral oil-based plasticizers in rubber goods, where they also bring significant advantages in terms of human and environmental safety, and may allow new end-of-life recycle options for SBR rubber-based products.
Solvents: Vegetable-based oils and esters are attractive alternatives to mineral oils as solvents and carriers for a wide variety of industrial and consumer applications.
Raw materials for the (Oleo)Chemical Industry: Vegetable oils and the associated co-products of refining are key raw materials for the oleochemical industry, where they are converted into basic lipid building blocks such as fatty acids, alcohols and esters. A smaller but growing market is found in the direct conversion of vegetable oils into functional ingredients; polymerization, sulfurization, sulfonation and epoxidation are examples of such chemical modifications applied industrially to vegetable oils.
Explore our products for chemical industry applications
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