Oleic Acid Production Planned in Italy

NextChem announced yesterday it was contracted by Sogis Chemical Co. to build a plant that will make oleic acid from residual fats. Oleic acid is an intermediate used for production of biobased lubricants.

Under the agreement, NextChem will provide supply engineering and procurement services for construction of a production line that will have capacity to produce 22,000 metric tons per year. The facility will be incorporated into existing So.G.I.S. operations in the municipality of Sospiro, in the province of Cremona in northern Italy.

NextChem is investing in technology and research with the aim of implementing bio-chemicals and bio-fuels production processes on an industrial scale, starting from renewable raw materials, Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of NextChem and its parent company Marie Tecnimont Group, said in a news release. At the same time, we are also engaged in the areas of energy efficiency and emission reduction and of [a] circular economy. He noted the agreement was an example of sustainable innovation in a downstream sector where demand is great while supply is limited.

This is a step forward for us towards sustainability with a view to improving the performance of our products, So.G.I.S. General DIrector Riccardo Alquati said in a news release.

Sospiro, Italy-based So.G.I.S. has operated since 1962 in the oleochemical sector and produces chemicals from renewable sources. After starting as an engineering company, it transformed itself into a producer - of commercial stearic acid and glycerol at first, and then later on of fatty acids and glycerol derivatives.

According to its website, the company has produced fatty acids, saturated and unsaturated, from renewable sources - from animal or vegetable raw materials - for more than 50 years. The company said it has started an initiative to update and upgrade facilities in order to expand production capacity of intermediate ingredients and to diversify its finished products.

The company said it works with customers ranging from big international companies to small local firms in many application fields, including surfactants and biodegradable lubricants. More than 60 percent of So.G.I.S. output is for export - mainly to European Union countries - but also to the Middle East, Northern Africa, North and South America and countries in the Far East.

NextChem, a subsidiary of Milan, Italy-based Maire Tecnimont Group, focuses on energy transition.