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Zeodration - Alban Muller’s eco-responsible drying process for botanical extracts

In this quest for more naturalness in cosmetic products, and a well-informed consumer, more and more technical, also looking for eco-friendly products, suppliers need to answer this quest with more eco-responsible process in order to reduce our carbon footprint and our energy consumption.  

The Zeodration method is a unique energy-saving and pollutant-free drying technique used by Alban Muller to transform a botanical extract in liquid form into a powder form. By obtaining a 100% natural pure powder, this process also helps to optimize storage zone and shelf life.

Let’s take a look at the comparison below and observe that this method is much more greener than other drying methods.

 Zeodration process graph by Alban Muller

As essential ingredients of a cosmetic formula, botanical extracts exist in different form (liquid, soft or dry) depending if the solvent evaporation is total, partial. The most eco-responsible option is first to use natural, recycle and selective solvents as water, ethanol or a mix ethanol and water, with a selective extraction efficacy targeted on active molecules. In that way, all or part of the solvent can be eliminated by evaporation to keep only the concentrated active molecules. Then, once decontaminated, and dried, this concentrate of actives can be dissolved in a new carrier. In this case, plant residues can be recycled more easily, and solvents reused. 

Energy consumption is one of the critical factors for selection of suitable drying methods. 
After many years of research at Alban Muller, this technique has been chosen and optimized for drying plant extracts. Zeodration is an alternative drying approach that combines 2 key points for the market : the low energy consumption, and the preservation of  thermosensitive molecules. 
The step of zeodration comes just after the concentration and decontamination of the extracted material, at the end of the complete and controlled process.

Diagram of manufacturing process of botanical extracts at Alban Muller

The science and technique behind a name:

Zeodration technology offers a drying solution for liquid or solid products down to a residual moisture content of less than 0.5%. The technology uses zeolite reactors to trap the water. Zeolite is defined as hydrated aluminosilicates which belong to feldspar minerals. 

Zeodration equipment diagram at Alban Muller

The principle of zeodration is a dehydration of the plant extract in a drying unit according to different steps/reactions: 

  • Depression creating a decrease in temperature down to about -20°C
  • Evaporation of the water contained in the product, adsorbed on zeolites
  • Natural generation of exothermic reaction releasing moderate heat
  • The energy produced is collected by exchangers and used to heat the product during the drying cycle
  • The reactors containing zeolites are regenerated once saturated with water 

Zeodration drying process from Alban Muller
The dehydration cycle of the plant extract allows to fully preserve the structure of the actives, especially those which are heat-sensitive, while maintaining the organoleptic properties and the best possible solubility of the extracts. 

At the end of the drying cycle, a "native" extract is obtained (called zeodrate) which is stable up to 36 months at least which also answer the need for more long life products to reduce wastes.
two males working at Alban Muller utilising Zeodration to dry botanical extracts
By permanently focusing on improving extracting processes, Alban Muller company uses innovative and economical energy tools, such as this zeodration drying technique.

 

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Published by

  • Alexandra Jeanneau Scientific communication manager - Alban Muller
  • Aurélie Noel Technical marketing coordinator - Botanicals

Alban Muller - industrial know-how presentation

Two males working at Alban Muller on the Zeodration process
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Alban Muller

A natural product designer dedicated to high-performance actives and extracts manufacturing and creation of natural skincare formulas.

Image of Alban Muller Plant, a leader in natural and botanical ingredients for the personal care industry, acquired by Croda International

Alban Muller - the natural product designer

Alban Muller is known worldwide as an expert in natural ingredients and cosmetic products thanks to its unique know-how. Its expertise acquired since 1978, in extracting and manufacturing high-performing plant extracts, as well as creating eco-friendly turnkey cosmetic products. Alban Muller develops 100% natural, high-quality plant extracts according to its eco-responsible strategy at every stage of the manufacturing process. From ecological production to resource and waste management, Alban Muller’s unique process respects both people and the environment.
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