Emollient ester produced by green chemistry launched by Evonik

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Green chemistry has taken a central role in the development of Evonik Industries' latest emollient ingredient as it attempts to reduce emissions and conserve energy.

The product, Tegosoft OER is an emollient that leaves a smooth non-oily skin feel, according to the Germany-based chemicals company, and will be presented at in-cosmetics in Paris this April.

In addition to its skin feel and caring properties, Evonik claims that the manufacture of this ester is significantly better for the environment that more conventional processes.

Rather than use the chemical catalysts (metal salts or strong acids) that are traditionally used in the conventional manufacture of fatty acid esters the company has used an enzyme catalyst to produce Tegosoft OER.

Lower reaction temperature

Using the enzyme rather than the chemical catalyst lowers the temperature needed for the reaction to proceed, from between 160 to 240 degrees centigrade, to 60 degrees centigrade, Dr Oliver Thum, from Evonik R&D explained.

“Due to the high reaction temperature the product usually has to be refined to obtain a colour- and odourless product, these refinements include deodorization and bleaching steps. Furthermore the catalyst has to be removed; all these refinement steps cause additional waste,”​ Thum told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

Using the enzyme led process the company claims it can reduce the amount of energy used by 60 per cent, and reduce the amount of pollutants by 88 per cent.

Although to obtain the finished product requires fewer refining steps, the spokesperson explained that as the enzyme catalyst is significantly more expensive than the chemical, the price of the product remains similar to its conventionally product counterparts.

As well as the improved environmental profile of the manufacturing process, the ingredient is of a better quality compared to conventionally produced esters, Evonik said.

The basic properties of the ingredient are the same, but the enzymatic products often show better product quality in terms of colour and odour, Thum explained.

Tegosoft OER joins a small number of emollient esters produced via the enzymatic process, and the company said more are in the development phase.

The company claims it is the only supplier to commercialise biotechnologically-derived cosmetic esters.

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