The European oleochemical industry currently relies on imported coconut and palm kernel oils and fatty acids and on castor oil as sources for medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA, C10C14) and medium-chain polymer building blocks. These are needed for the production of plastics, surfactants, detergents, lubricants, plasticisers and other products. The COSMOS project, which runs from March 2015 to August 2019, aims at reducing this dependence by turning the currently underutilised domestic oil crops camelina and crambe into profitable, sustainable, multipurpose, non-transgenic European oil crops for the production of oleochemicals.
Seed properties of camelina and crambe have been screened and optimised through genetic techniques aiming at high yield, low resource inputs, optimisation of the value generated from vegetative tissues and fatty acid profiles adapted to industrial needs. Large-scale field trials have been performed at different locations in Europe to assess the potential of the crops in terms of cultivation practices, seed yield, oil content, ease of harvesting, and resource inputs. Extracted oils have been fractionated into various fatty acid types for further uses and the press cakes have been fed to insects producing high-value proteins, chitin and fats. Insect fats and proteins will be isolated and prepared for use in food and feed products. The overall economic, social and environmental sustainability as well as life cycle of the whole value chain will be assessed. The impact of the project for Europe will be assessed in terms of value chain potentials for value creation and number of jobs that can be created.
Towards the end of the project, the aim of this event is to present the research results of the project to a wider scientific audience.
Presentations on the following topics are planned with regard to camelina and crambe:
1. Oilseed breeding and genetics;
2. Sustainable cultivation strategies;
3. Oil extraction and separation;
4. Vegetative tissue and seed meal valorisation by insects;
5. Integrated assessment of sustainability.