INTRINSIC: Integrated sustainable processing of oil and functional protein from oil seed

This project aims to enable economically and environmentally sustainable biorefinery of oil and protein ingredients from oilseeds. The projects builds on an existing knowledge base linking extraction processing unit operations with functional performance. A total use case approach is applied, with high-value streams directed toward food applications and residues applied to feed. This project is open to partners from across the supply chain, including oilseed crushers, technology providers, and consumer goods manufacturers.

The benefits of co-extraction

Industrial extraction of oil from oil seeds is optimized for maximum oil yield, not side product quality. Hexane solvent extraction is the conventional technology to extract residual oil from oil seed press cake. It is highly efficient, but the elevated temperatures associated with hexane removal induce protein denaturation and results in loss of protein functionality, making this fraction largely unsuitable for use in food products. Currently, many oil seed processors aim to move away from hexane-based extraction, presenting an opportunity to implement co-extraction.

INTRINSIC will develop a sustainable extraction process achieving two objectives: enabling a shift toward hexane-free processing ,and yielding a functional fraction for direct use as food ingredient.  The growing demand for plant-based proteins for use in food creates an opportunity to achieve a market premium for functional, food-quality proteins, and the overall process profitability is secured as lower extraction yield of the green technology will be offset by added protein value.

Novel extraction technology with minimal capital expenditure

Aqueous extraction, green solvent extraction, enzyme aided extraction and supercritical CO2  assisted mechanical extraction are reviewed as sustainable alternatives for oil extraction using hexane. These technologies, optionally combined with unique filtration based Down Stream Processing (DSP) developed at WFBR, offer cost-effecting and sustainable alternatives.

This project will comprise three workstreams with the following activities.

  • Linking process and functional ingredient quality
    • Identification challenges conventional oil extraction.
    • Assessment impact processing on product quality, characteristics and sustainability.
    • Targeting product outlets uncompromised oil and protein fractions.
    • Draft new process using existing processing infrastructure as much as possible.
  • Multi-parameter process optimization
    • Development extraction techniques.
    • Experimental assessment different green processing techniques.
    • Further development most promising techniques.
    • Sustainability and impact on oil and protein product quality and characteristics are key.
  • Upscaling proof-of-concept
    • Integration and demonstration novel extraction technology in full process.
    • Sample production and expert assistance food product development.
    • Positive benchmarking process economics and sustainability.

Invitation to collaborate

This consortium is open for participation for partners across the supply chain, including oilseed crushers, technology suppliers, and food product manufacturers. In return for in-cash and in-kind contributions to the project, partners can specify desired crops and products for research, and provide direction to the research activities. Unfortunately we are not able to reply to solicitations from research institutes or enquiries from students related to this project.