Half a century ago, NATECO2 established and developed a special process to liquefy gas with high pressure for use in the food and beverage, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The company is now a global expert in supercritical CO2-extraction technology.
As customers place more emphasis on naturalness, quality, sustainability and environmentally friendly processes, the advantages of this technology have become apparent. An inert atmosphere, moderate conditions during processing and the absence of organic solvents and oxygen mean that products are exposed to minimal strain. The fields of applications and market demands for CO2 extraction are increasing constantly.
Originating from the decaffeination process and the hop industry, the technology was successfully adapted to refining natural oils, fats and waxes; the extraction of spices, herbs, seeds; and many other uses. Extracts are not always the focus; deoiled natural materials are often the target compound. Unlike conventional defatting processes, oil can nearly completely be removed, increasing the shelf-life of products significantly.
Additionally, levels of proteins or carbohydrates rise automatically. With this method, valuable sunflower or pumpkin protein powders, which are perfect for athletic or vegan diets, can be generated.
CO2 extraction can also be used to purify raw materials; products can be deodorised or have pesticides removed from them. It is the method of choice for decreasing pesticide concentrations so that the resulting products comply with the relevant regulations and stay within maximum residue limits.
NATECO2 is experienced in extracting a wide range of products industrially, such as piperine from pepper, aroma from vanilla, omega-3 fatty acids from algae and active compounds from valerian or mistletoe. Also, powders containing anti-inflammatory ingredients or radical scavengers can be generated; for example, from hops or carrots.
The biogenic CO2 used for extraction has generally recognised as safe (GRAS) status, and can be used for food and cosmetics without any limitations, and is recovered in the process.
Besides production services, NATECO2 offers contract R&D services such as feasibility studies or product development options, as well as process optimisation. Successive scaling-up from pilot to production quantities is routine business. Furthermore, consultancy for first case studies up to implementing new CO2 plants is offered.
Product quality and process control is guaranteed by NATECO2's in-house laboratory, which is equipped with state-of the-art analytical apparatus capable of supercritical chromatography. The quality of a product does not only depend on proper extraction and established processes; the handling of raw materials also has a significant influence on the effectiveness of the extraction and therefore plays a decisive role in the quality of the final product.
Beyond that, refined products have to be treated according to their individual requirements after extraction. A variety of drying, milling, mixing, pelletising and storage possibilities are on the premises; NATECO2 is certified according to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, organic/BIO and kosher, and is working on attaining ISO 22000 certification.
According to the actual strategic alignment, more adjacent technology will be implemented, including CCC-refinement for pure aromas and PGSS-process, as a sophisticated method to gain tailored powders from a saturated CO2 phase.
Additionally, the R&D and analytical capabilities are to be extended and the consulting team will be strengthened to guarantee individual customer support. To learn more about CO2 technology and its variable possibilities, visit NATECO2 at Vitafoods Europe 2018 at booth F67.