The technology

The residue generated by the olive oil process is known as wet olive pomace (WOP), which have high water content (up to 65%), and may contain between 2-8 g. polyphenols/Kg pomace, so more than 80% of the total polyphenol content in olives is lost in the waste material. This olive pomace is normally used for further extraction of pomace oil. For that application, it is dried prior to using organic chemical solvents (e.g. hexane). The solid waste generated in the pomace oil extraction process has a low humidity (10-15%) and is usually sold as biomass.
However, WOP is a potential source for the extraction of hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and oleuropein which are known for their antioxidant activity and thus have a high added value. There is a wide potential market for natural extracts, including cosmetics, functional foods, supplements, preservatives in industrial production or animal health.

 

Phenolive intends to revalorise this waste of the pomace oil producers by:

(i) extraction of polyphenolic compounds as a high added value product using Pulsed Electric Field as an alternative to conventional chemical extraction techniques based on the use of organic solvents;

(ii) lead an steam gasification of the resulting solid waste to recover electricity and heat for the whole process, creating profit from the surplus.