CORDIS - EU research results

Functional Keratin Kerasol

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KERASOL (Functional Keratin Kerasol)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-02-29

Pig hair and hooves are made of keratin (fibrous protein), a common by-product of the meat industry, obtained in large volumes in industrial slaughterhouses. Approximately 1.5 billion pigs were processed worldwide for their meat in 2018. Taking into account a typical pig hair and hoof content of around 0.5 kg/animal, 750 kt of waste are generated worldwide annually and represent a global problem. So far, there are only two options for disposing of solid waste such as pig hair: either it is incinerated or it is taken to landfill. Burning it produces air pollution and landfilling it is an even bigger problem because the amount of hair that is discarded is counted by tons after one year, thus increasing the volume of untreatable waste. On the other hand, the current legislation obliges to reduce the amount of organic matter that ends up in conventional landfills.
On the other hand, keratin has been used for a decade in cosmetics as an additive to skin and hair care products, but due to current extraction technology that uses very aggressive methods, the protein is denatured resulting in non-functional keratin and therefore without the expected bioavailability.
At Royal Triumph we have identified the business opportunity behind such problems and have managed to develop the solution by means of a pilot keratin processing plant KERASOL with a high degree of innovation that makes a by-product, considered a waste, be used as a raw material that can be transformed into an additive for cosmetic products desirable by consumers. KERASOL is a safe, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly system for the collection, processing and transformation of pig hair and nails into bioactive soluble keratin hydrolysate with high added value for use in the cosmetics industry and as an additive in laundry detergents. This will have a great impact on the world keratin market, valued at 10,740 t in 2018, which is estimated to increase by more than 45% in the next 10 years.
The feasibility study carried out during phase 1 has given us the opportunity to fully validate the ability of our innovative KERASOL process to reach the market, not only as an additive in cosmetic products, but also as an additive in detergent and fabric softener products.
The study covered the technological feasibility, market trends, and definition of the KERASOL business model. Samples have been obtained and field tests have been carried out with great success on the functionalities and physical-chemical characteristics of the final product. The needs of the different segments of end-users and potential customers have been studied, which has led us to adapt the technological level to be developed and the business model by evaluating its risks and defining action plans. The work plan associated with the second phase of the project has been defined for the scalability of the plant, as well as the investment required for its execution. We have determined the functions to be carried out within our work team to complete the next phase of the project and the external collaborations required in the same. In our business plan, we have foreseen sales for the next 5 years after the end of the project in Europe and worldwide thereafter.
After the revision of the technical specifications and the updating of the project's commercial model carried out in phase 1, our intention to continue the development of the project through its industrial scaling and commercialization has been determined.
With our safe, profitable and environmentally-friendly system for collecting, processing and transforming pig hair and hooves ready for introduction into the industrial cosmetic and laundry care markets, Royal Triumph's sales and net profit will grow continuously, opening up new regional/national / international markets already interested in the use of keratin from pigs, and its use as an additive for cosmetic and detergent products.