While the Covid-19 pandemic almost paused the world and caused significant operational disturbances to many entities, employees at RiKarbon Inc, a fast growing startup in Delaware, continued to worked diligently, albeit following all mandated safety protocols, to advance its technology and renewable oils offerings focusing on cosmetic emollients and lubricant base oils.
The company has made progress in advancing the manufacturing process for renewable oils and is now formulating its first lubricant product for environmentally-regulated applications. RiKarbon’s initial silicon-free and sustainable cosmetic emollient, produced from waste biomass carbon, passed toxicity assessment as well as compatibility and efficacy profiles and the management team is now forming strategic partnerships to bring these products to consumers.
In addition to its core renewable oils business, RiKarbon is expanding its technology base and producing well-defined waste plastic feedstock for chemical recycling, funded by a recent SBIR grant from the Department of Energy (DOE).
About 400 million tons of plastic is consumed annually. The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NSEAS) estimates that over 10% of post-consumed plastics end up in ocean. Slow photo-degradation of plastic in the water forms micro- and nano-size pieces and creates waterborne toxins. These small plastic pieces, mixed with toxins, are consumed by marine life and pose significant health risks to aquatic species, humans and economics.
DOE’s Phase I grant will allow RiKarbon to develop technologies for turning plastic waste into well-characterized and well-defined clean feedstock streams for further downstream conversion into chemicals, originally used to produce new plastic. This will create higher values for waste plastic, mitigate environmental challenges, improve future energy security, and develop a circular carbon economy, which fits well within the company’s business mission of providing sustainable solutions with societal benefits for a better future. The company is working collaboratively with plastic collection companies and chemical industries to commercialize this technology.