About my Start-up

RECOV Labs is a start-up founded by young researchers with ongoing academic activity with the goal to REdesign the COnsumer-products Value chain, focused on sustainable vegetable oils. We aim to establish a competitive supply chain in Europe that recovers vegetable oils from underused industrial residues and transforms them into marketable commodities. We use green chemistry and biotechnological processes, free of fossil-based solvents, to extract oils from bio-waste, and market them in the cosmetics and (potentially food) industry.
We are cooperating with an instant coffee factory in Germany, and research partners at Helmholtz and Fraunhofer centers to secure fast technology development, and a reliable supply chain and scalability. Our oils meet the quality demands as well as the standards of sustainable ingredients and our business is embedded in a circular economy so far overlooked in the field.

Why your idea is a “winner"?:

RECOV Labs developed a technology that uses infrastructure already available at the industrial level. Our products are produced in a non-seasonal way, with a quality that matches conventional oils, and with technologies that are afordable and do not harm the environment. Due to the abundance of waste biomass, upcycled coffee oil does not require additional land use, does not conflict with food/feed production, and has the potential to significantly reduce imports of palm oil. We will become a supplier of sustainable vegetable oils for cosmetics developers committed to sustainable practices in Germany and potentially France, which have the largest consumer markets for cosmetics in Europe (13.6 and 12 € Billion), foreseeing a major mindset-changing impact on the market. Moreover, we are contributing to a Sustainable Bioconomy by recycling bio-waste and mitigating GHS emissions caused by landfilling of unused coffee grounds.

What is your current or intended business/revenue model?:

Our business model focuses on the procurement of bio-waste from instant coffee factories in Germany, its distribution to storage and extraction centers, the further development of efficient extraction technologies, and the distribution of upcycled oils to cosmetics and food market manufacturers (B2B model).
Our main product is coffee oil obtained from a German instant coffee factory. Upcycled coffee oil has similar properties and fatty-acid composition to palm oil, being a perfect candidate to cover its increasing demand in the cosmetics and food sector. Upcycle coffee oil has also been approved as a cosmetic ingredient, its skin benefits have been demonstrated and it is already in use by a few sustainable brands in Europe. We tested different extraction technologies to render a method that provides higher oil yields, and better organoleptic properties, in comparison to our main competitor.

Do you have any Patent or IP registered (related to the solution that you are looking for an investment)?:

Currently, we do not have any patents registered. The first patent is planned to be filed by the end of 2023.

Has your technology already been implemented in any field/sector?:

Yes, a few companies focused on the extraction of essential oils and cosmetics ingredients are using supercritical CO2 as a solvent for the extraction of high-quality substances.

Which market and customer need(s)/problem(s) is (are) your products(s)/service(s) going to solve?:

The vegetable oil industry is at the heart of food and non-food supply chains. European mills process and extract oil from rapeseed, sunflower seed, and soybeans; however, to fulfill the demand for vegetable oils, the industry relies on imported tropical oils such as palm, palm kernel, and coconut oil. Emerging regulations and concerns on the tropical oils supply chain and its linkage to deforestation have grown the need for long-term sustainable and responsible solutions for meeting consumer needs and societal expectations. In addition, the vegetable oils supply chain has shown to be highly sensitive to crises such as the Covid19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, revealing extreme price volatility and scarcity. Moreover, almost all commercial vegetable oils are extracted using hexane, refined from petroleum.
Commodities manufacturers are now more than ever committed to ensuring that alternative vegetable oils meet strict sustainability standards and give, whenever possible, priority to domestically produced oils. Coffee has an oil content of 20% in dry mass, which has been untouched during the fermentation, roasting, and caffeine extraction from the coffee grounds, making spent coffee grounds (Kaffesatz in German), a bio-waste from food processing in the EU, an ideal bio-waste for the recovery of oils to replace exported tropical oils.

TRL 5 – technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
Candidate Overview

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