Speciality Chemicals Magazine SEP / OCT 2023 | Page 54

How nature is giving a new face to cosmetics

Miranda Lindsay-Fynn , commercial director of Bio-Sep , discusses the applications of biosourced chemicals produced through ultrasonic processing and how using these materials can help cosmetics manufacturers to reach their net zero carbon goals
Hemicellulose syrup ( left ), cellulose and lignin ( centre ) are all extracted from sawdust ( right )

Traditional cosmetic and personal care products often use materials derived from fossil fuels , which have increasingly come under the spotlight as being bad for the environment , due to their significant contributions to the ever-rising CO 2 levels present in the Earth ’ s atmosphere .

It is becoming increasingly important to identify clean technological solutions that will reduce our reliance on these materials and help to reverse their impact on climate change . On top of this , fossil fuel reserves are very much depleted and have a finite future , further highlighting the urgent need for substitutes .
Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their toiletry products and conscious of the chemicals they are putting on their skin . Cosmetics manufacturers are therefore looking for sustainable alternatives to petrochemicals as they strive to bring down their carbon footprints and boost their green credentials , while still remaining popular and financially competitive .
The power of ultrasound
Biobased products derived entirely from organic sources like plants and animals are fast emerging as economic , environmentally friendly replacements for fossil fuel-derived petrochemicals in cosmetic and personal care products . Bio-Sep was founded to take advantage of these versatile renewable materials , with the aim of maximising their value .
The company has developed an ultrasonic processing technique to extract high-value biochemicals from the waste materials unavoidably generated by agricultural and forestry operations , such as wood shavings , offcuts and even sawdust . Using ultrasound enables the fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass to be performed at considerably lower temperatures and pressures than other extraction processes .
The fractionated mixture is then processed through recovery units to separate the fractions into high quality biochemical products . Organic agents used during processing are recovered and reused , and all the biomass that enters the process is upcycled into pure platform chemicals , with no