September 18, 2014
A New Purification Method for the Production of Agricultural Oils on an Industrial Scale
Image by Shaina Tromp: Ned Bowden, founder of Pure Oleochemicals, working in the University of Iowa Chemistry lab with a filtration apparatus.
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Pure Oleochemicals, a University of Iowa spinout company, recently received early-stage funding from several private and public sources for its method of purifying agricultural oils for use in soaps, cosmetics, oils, and other consumer products.
The company received funding from private investors, as well as $100,000 from the state of Iowa. The University of Iowa Research Foundation also provided $93,000 to assist Ned Bowden, chemistry professor at the University of Iowa and CEO/founder of Pure Oleochemicals, in product development.
Pure Oleochemicals’ technology was developed in the Chemistry Department at the University of Iowa and has the only existing filtration method with the potential to inexpensively separate and purify agricultural oils to purities of 80 to 99 percent on an industrial scale, as stated on the website The Bowden Group. Various oleochemical byproducts are used in products like biodiesel and dietary supplements such as omega3. Investors have high hopes for Pure Oleochemicals’ future and with the market value for oleochemicals at $7 billion in 2012 and a projected value of $13 billion for 2017, the outcome is promising.
“The fatty acids we are talking about originate from vegetable oils like corn and soybean. We can take those oils and help add more value to them,” said Bowden. “Purification creates more value for the product the farmers already produce, it makes more industrial applications possible and it’s better for the environment; we all win.”
In addition to achieving higher purities, the same process can remove similar fatty acid “impurities” from lower purity fatty acid products. This approach can increase the stability or applicability for current uses. The filtration system is compatible with current technologies and can be appended to existing hardware to achieve improved purity at a reasonable cost. These higher purity oils are expected to enable new applications and new markets with relatively low capital investment.
“The company’s intellectual property is truly groundbreaking, in our view,” said Matt Busick, a private investor. “Pure Oleo sells into large markets that are growing fast. Situations like this offer both managers and investors tons of ‘optionality,’ and are rare indeed.”
About Pure Oleochemicals: Pure Oleochemicals is an Iowa City based company that specializes in the production of highly purified agricultural oils. These oils have the potential to create a wider market for farmer products like soybean and corn oils. Founded in 2013, Pure Oleochemicals and the research group at the University have received funding from private investors, the University of Iowa and the state of Iowa to continue their research. For more information on Pure Oleochemicals please email Ned Bowden at email@example.com or visithttp://www.pureoleochemicals.com/technology-overview.html.
Ned Bowden, Pure Oleochemicals’ Founder and CEO
About the University of Iowa: The University of Iowa provides many resources for its innovators, such as the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Lean Innovation University of Iowa Venture School, GAP Funding, and Iowa Centers for Enterprise. For more information on the University of Iowa Economic Development Program please contact Lee Groeschl at firstname.lastname@example.org or visithttp://enterprise.uiowa.edu.
By: Shaina Tromp