A company formed by a group of chemists from the University of Coimbra (UC) has just obtained 700 thousand euros of European funds to develop ecological detergents from used cooking oils, it was announced this Monday.

The company EcoXperience, a 'startup' formed in 2016 by a group of chemists from the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC), has just obtained 700 thousand euros in funding, within the scope of the Portugal 2020 community support framework, to develop ecological detergents from used cooking oils, states a note from that Faculty sent this Monday to the Lusa agency.

The funds will be used to develop One-N-Done, a 100% 'green' capsule, which "converts used cooking oil, a highly polluting residue -- one liter of oil contaminates up to one million liters of water -- , in different detergents (floor wash, window cleaner, soaps, dishwasher, among others), practically automatically and at low cost", highlights the FCTUC in the same note.

The project, which involves a dozen researchers from the FCTUC Department of Chemistry, Tecnocanto and the Sonae group, expects the capsule to be on the market within two years, as EcoXperience has already created "a technology to transform used oils into agents cleaning, through a protein that works as a biocatalyst".

This technology, in the process of being patented, uses a protein found in the human body, produced by the pancreas to process ingested fats, says the FCTUC.

In practice, "the formula developed by EcoXperience, in partnership with the University of Coimbra, mimics what happens in the human body, that is, it transforms the triglycerides present in used oils into new components", explain César Henriques and Filipe Antunes, two of the founders of this FCTUC 'startup'.

Supported by the philosophy of the circular economy -- an economy that has as its premise the transformation of waste into innovative products --, EcoXperience aims to make available, both for the industrial sector and for domestic use, "a capsule identical to the one we put in the washing machine or dishes, 'stuffed' with all the agents necessary to transform the used oil and the essential ingredients for the various cleaning products (perfume, dyes, etc.)", point out, cited by FCTUC, César Henriques and Filipe Antunes.

"In this way, we value waste and provide highly ecological detergents, without chemicals that are harmful to the environment, as is generally the case with current detergents", add the two researchers.
The objective is to democratize the way people have access to detergents, allowing them to obtain effective and environmentally friendly products of plant origin, saving time and money", highlight César Henriques and Filipe Antunes, estimating that "One-N-Done allows end user an average annual saving of 45% on detergents.

Thinking about the international market, the startup is carrying out a survey of all types of oils that are used worldwide "with the aim of finding a solution for each geographic area of ​​the globe or even developing a universal formula", the experts also say. responsible.

Source: Correio da Manhã