I remember reporting in 2001 about Dow Chemical’s project initiatives in developing chemicals and plastics from castor oil. That time Dow was working with the US Department of Agriculture and Texas-based Castor Oil Inc. with funding coming from the US Department of Energy. I have not heard any related news on Dow and castor oil after that and so hopefully this latest announcement from the company will be more, shall we say, “fruitful.”
Dow Chemical International Pvt. Ltd. and Gujarat-based Royal Castor Products (RCP) Ltd. said they will join hands in developing new solutions and products made from castor oil derivatives. RCP is one of India’s leading manufacturer-exporter of castor oil derivatives. India is actually the largest producer and supplier of castor oil.
Applications for the oil can be found in lubricants, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, adhesives, brake fluids, caulks, dyes, electrical liquid dielectrics, humectants, hydraulic fluids, inks, lacquers, leather treatments, lubricating greases, machining oils, paints, pigments, polyurethane adhesives, refrigeration lubricants, rubbers, sealants, textiles, washing powders and waxes.
Whew! Who knew castor oil has so many uses?? If castor plant can survive in the Indian climate and doesn’t need that much water and fertilizer, chemical companies should really look into developing this extraordinary oilseed.