Obtaining high value-added active compounds from olive grove biomass
The olive grove industry generates an enormous amount of waste in the olive cultivation process (leaves, pruning wastes) and in the production of the oil.
In addition to the extraction of active compounds for human use, which provides high added value, two additional processes are carried out: (1) the generation of electrical energy that can be consumed by the plant itself; and (2) generation of products for animal feed.
The company Innovaoleo is a joint-venture between Natac and Oleícola El Tejar (world leader in the production of olive trees). Through this initiative, a catalogue of active compounds extracted from different wastes from the olive grove and the olive oil production process has been developed. Through a process of extraction, purification and drying of the compounds, ~1,000 ton./year of biomass are treated. Ingredients with high concentrations of oleuropein (olive leaf), hydroxytyrosol (olive leaf) and triterpenes (olive and olive leaf) are obtained, as well as a wide variety of innovative formulas (20% Oleuropein, 13% Pentacyclic triterpenes, 3% Hydroxytyrosol, 3% α-Tocopherol) with interesting applications in food (both nutraceuticals and functional food), pharmacy, animal nutrition and cosmetics. As for animal feed, a functional oil is produced for salmon aquaculture (improves the intestinal health of salmon, enhancing its growth and reducing production costs). The waste left from the extraction is taken to a combustion process, generating electrical energy.
Market deployment considerations
olive grove biomass
Type of process
extraction concentration purification
fortified food ingredients
Technology Readiness Level
Producers associations or cooperatives