The European oleochemical industry currently relies on imported coconut and palm kernel oils and fatty acids and on castor oil as sources for medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA, C10–C14) and medium-chain polymer building blocks. These are needed for the production of plastics, surfactants, detergents, lubricants, plasticisers and other products.
COSMOS aims at reducing this dependence by turning the currently underutilised domestic oil crops camelina and crambe into profitable, sustainable, multipurpose, non-transgenic European oil crops for the production of oleochemicals. Seed properties will be screened and optimised through genetic techniques aiming at high yield, low resource inputs, optimisation of the value generated from vegetative tissues and fatty acid profiles adapted to industrial needs. Large-scale field trials will be performed at different locations in Europe to assess the potential of the crops in terms of cultivation practices, seed yield, oil content, ease of harvesting, and resource inputs.
Extracted oils will be fractionated into various fatty acid types (monounsaturated versus polyunsaturated) by selective enzyme technologies and extraction processes. The monounsaturated long-chain fatty acids so obtained will be converted to medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) and high-value building blocks for bio-plastics and flavour and fragrance ingredients through chemical and enzymatic chain cleavage processes. The ω3-rich polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) fraction will be purified for use in food and feed ingredients. Vegetative tissues such as straw, leaves and press cake will be fed to insects producing high-value proteins, chitin and fats. Insect fats and proteins will be isolated and prepared for use in food and feed products. The overall economic, social and environmental sustainability as well as life cycle of the whole value chain will be assessed. The impact of the project for Europe will be assessed in terms of value chain potentials for value creation and number of jobs that can be created.
G. Reinhardt (2019): Camelina und Crambe: Nachhaltige Alternativen für die Landwirtschaft? [Camelina and Crambe: Sustainable Alternatives for Agriculture?] Oral presentation, C.A.R.M.E.N.-Symposium 2019: Energie- und Ressourcenwende: Impulse aus dem ländlichen Raum [Energy and Resource Transition: Impulses from rural areas], Straubing, Germany, 1 – 2 July 2019
G. Reinhardt, N. Rettenmaier, T. Wagner (2019): Final report on environmental assessment of the COSMOS value chains [D 7.3]: “Environmental Assessment of Camelina and Crambe for Oleochemical Applications”. In: COSMOS project reports, supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme under GA No. 635405, ifeu - Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany - will follow soon.
T. Wagner, G. Reinhardt, H. Keller, N. Rettenmaier, F. Wellenreuther, R. Blaauw, R. Diaz-Chavez, Y. Evans, S. Piotrowski (2019): Final report on integrated sustainability assessment of the COSMOS value chains [D 7.6]: “Integrated Sustainability Assessment of Camelina and Crambe for Oleochemical Applications”. In: COSMOS project reports, supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme under GA No. 635405, ifeu - Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany - will follow soon.
R. Diaz-Chavez, Y. Evans, G. Reinhardt, N. Rettenmaier (2019): D7.5 Social and Policy Assessment of the COSMOS Chain. In: COSMOS project reports, supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme under GA No. 635405, Imperial College, London, UK - will follow soon.
G. Reinhardt (2019): How sustainable are Crambe and Camelina pathways? Oral presentation, 27th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition (EUBCE 2019), Lisbon, Portugal, 27 – 30 May 2019
N. Rettenmaier, G. Reinhardt, H. Keller, T. Wagner (2018): Camelina and crambe vs. tropical oil crops: What are the environmental benefits? Proceedings of the EUBCE 2018, Copenhagen, Denmark, 14 – 18 May 2018
N. Rettenmaier, T. Wagner, G. Reinhardt (2017): Camelina and crambe – European alternatives to tropical oil crops? Poster presentation, 2nd Bioeconomy Day of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Rural Affairs, Food and Consumer Protection, Stuttgart, Germany, 4 – 5 October 2017,
G. Reinhardt, N. Rettenmaier, T. Schmidt, F. Wellenreuther (2017): Camelina and crambe – a blessing for Europe? Poster presentation, 13th International Conference on Renewable Resources and Biorefineries, Warsaw, Poland, 7 – 9 June 2017
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 635405