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Why is glycerine so important?

February 1, 2021


By Oskar Song

Glycerine is found in the majority of products we use to keep us healthy and improve our quality of life. It is a key ingredient in the personal care, home care, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, animal feed industries, and industrial applications.

In food, it is used as a thickening agent or sweetener. In medicine, because the ingredient is found to be mostly non-toxic in the digestive system, it is commonly used in cough syrups, a holding agent for tables and for the production of soft gelatin capsules.

Glycerine is an essential ingredient for personal care products as well. Its ability to absorb moisture when exposed to water makes it an excellent moisturizing agent. Glycerine traps moisture to give the skin a youthful and healthy glow, and because it is almost non-irritating to the skin, it is commonly found in cosmetics and skin and hair wash catered to users with sensitive skin.

Essential as a de-icing agent on airfields and for the automotive industry, glycerine’s industrial application also extends to the printer cartridges and ink we use every day.

Having outlined just some of the extensive glycerine uses, one of its best properties is its eco-friendliness. It is biodegradable, and scientists found that when it is released to the environment, it is distributed into the water, and negligible amounts are found in air, soil, or sediment. This means the ingredient has a low bioaccumulation potential, an essential factor for exporters when coping with chemical compliance.

Crude glycerine, also known as glycerol, is present in the form of esters in all vegetable fats and oils. It is also often seen as a byproduct of biodiesel. Previously, glycerine was produced by saponification to make tallow soaps. Today, it is derived from the oil feedstock for biodiesel through transesterification processes, the process in which fat or oil reacts with an alcohol to form esters and glycerol, accounting for around 70% of the global glycerine production, followed by hydrolysis, an oil-splitting process.

In other words, crude glycerine is derived from fats and oils that have been saponified, hydrolyzed, or transesterified. In its crude state, it is then purified by distillation. Musim Mas has been doing this since 2003, refining today on three plants in Indonesia, and in Europe at one of the largest standalone glycerine refinery in the world in Farmsum, Netherlands.

At Musim Mas, glycerine or C3H803 is a highly pure and refined product. Under air-tight and proper storage conditions, it has a shelf-life of at least 12 months. Our team is able to produce glycerine to meet global customer requirements in terms of quality, certification, and origin; for example, European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Euro), American (USP), U.K, and Japan.

As the world’s largest glycerine producer and a sustainability leader, our integrated supply chain ensures a stable and resilient supply channel for high-quality products. If your business is interested in improving your products, work with a sustainable leader and have a conversation with us today.

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