A Benin-based company has found a way to recycle cashew nut shell waste, which is otherwise harmful to the soil and the atmosphere due to its acidic oil content, by turning it in to a liquid balm for use in the paint and aeronautics industries.
Food company Fludor began production of cashew balm at its Benin-based cashew facility last year. Cashew oil is, which is made by crushing the shell, can be used in industrial products including brake linings, paint and lacquer. Given that it comes from a natural resource, the cashew balm is seen as a more natural alternative to chemicals.
Cashew oil is of great importance in the paint industry in particular, being used in the composition of anti-rust or gloss paints. It is also used in aeronautics, as a hydrocarbon in aviation.
The brown resin or liquid contained in the cashew nut shell is also used to make inks, varnishes to protect against insect pests or as a waterproofing.
Up until last year, Fludor would extract the edible part of the cashew nut for export, while the shells of the nuts were either destroyed or discarded in the wild given that the by-product is harmful to soil and the atmosphere.
Roland Riboux, Fludor’s CEO said: “There is 20% cashew balm in the cashew shell, which is still significant. Burning them in the open air or burying them is very bad for the soil, and for the atmosphere. Transforming cashew shells into balm requires a technology that is not very easy to master.”
Fludor currently produce 10 tonnes of cashew oil a day, making use of 30-40 tonnes of cashew shells. It obtains its shells from other cashew processing companies based in Benin, which is Africa’s largest cashew producer. Last year Benin generated more than 100,000 tonnes of cashew nuts.
The cashew balm is currently exported to India, Japan and China, which has developed industries using it as a raw material.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com