Two business projects on the Central coast focus on combating climate change, energy transition and circular economy, adopting renewable energy and augmented reality in the supply of automotive components or transforming waste into detergents as a business model.

Produce detergents from used cooking oils

In Vagos, in the district of Aveiro, the production unit of EcoX is established, a company based in Penela, Coimbra, which focuses on producing detergents from used cooking oils.

"Oil is a product that causes a lot of environmental problems when it is not disposed of properly. And, in Portugal, there are many people who don't even know that oils exist. People in Portugal are used to using oil to fry potatoes or patties and then they put the oil in the sink or toilet or, in some places, they make a hole in the ground and put it in. There is a lot of illiteracy in this part", Beatriz Bandeira, manager of EcoX, told the agency Lusa.

Aware of this problem, the company, located at Mistolin's facilities, with whom it has a partnership in the development of domestic and professional cleaning products - laundry and dish detergents, among others - uses those residues, of vegetable origin, which , after being collected and treated by other EcoX partners, result in a "very rich base, very interesting for detergents", as it incorporates surfactants, substances that interact with water, fats and dirt.

This soap base, in turn, after months, or even years, of laboratory development, results in new sustainable detergents, which are tested with potential customers before reaching the market.

We have a lot of research time to arrive at a product. We have to carry out stability tests, to see if a product holds up well in extreme heat and cold conditions, we carry out aging tests.

The Lusa report glimpsed some of these laboratory tests, discovering a floor detergent with a mango scent, another multi-use detergent with a fig scent or a dishwasher, still in the works, with lime and vanilla.

The products under development spend 16 weeks, around four months, in a greenhouse at 40 degrees Celsius (and in a refrigerator at four degrees), which is equivalent, according to the manager, to four years of real time.

"From time to time we evaluate the color, the ph [degree of acidity and alkalinity] and the smell. Aromas are very important, detergents sell a lot based on their smell", highlighted Beatriz Bandeira.

EcoX was one of nine companies - among 86 entities, the overwhelming majority of which were public - that competed for support under the first edition of the Centro Circular Pact, a program of the Centro Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDRC).

Speaking to Lusa, Isabel Damasceno, president of CCDRC, noted that there are "requirements and even own funds, for transformations from an energy and environmental point of view" in companies.

If a company wants to make changes to its production process and have savings and advantages from an environmental point of view and energy savings, it will certainly have good and beneficial support for these same investments.

On the other hand, Isabel Damasceno found that possible resistance to environmental investment is changing, especially because compliance with demanding environmental rules is a mandatory condition to be able to access public tenders or European funds.

"These are behavioral changes and behavioral changes cannot be achieved overnight. It has to be with successive actions, with awareness, with concrete visibility of the advantages (...). Companies and institutions have to, little by little, and little, adapting to what is an absolutely indisputable requirement of the present and the future", argued the president of the CCDRC.

Source: Jornal de Notícias