Chicory cleans drinking water

Replace chemistry with biology? Society is eager for change. Replacing fossil fuel raw materials with organic raw materials is good for the environment and the climate and also secures our supply of energy and raw materials.
07 April 2022

5 questions about biobased CMI

Plant-based raw materials are familiar territory for us. Our researchers have been extracting and modifying substances from plants for many years to meet consumer, industry, and utility company needs for environmentally-friendly raw materials. Take CMI for instance, our organic scale inhibitor made from chicory root that keeps drinking water company filters clean. Gerald van Engelen, General Manager at Cosun Beet Company – Biobased Experts, answers five questions about CMI, the biobased descaler.

  1. What is CMI?

    Carboxymethyl inulin (CMI) is made using inulin from chicory root. The inulin is slightly modified. Instead of a food ingredient, it becomes an organic scale inhibitor. CMI prevents the formation and precipitation of scale and particles.

  2. How does it work?

    CMI is an organic, environmentally friendly scale inhibitor. Adding a little CMI to the water reduces membrane and filter clogging and allows installations to stay operational for longer. This works well for water treatment and for desalinisation of drinking water using membranes. CMI also prevents calcium deposits in dishwashers, washing machines, and industrial systems.

  3. Is it safe?

    Certainly. CMI is biodegradable, harmless to humans and the environment, and contains high levels of renewable carbon. That is why the water boards have given the green light for its discharge into surface water. Water with chemical scale inhibitors may be not be discharged.

  4. How does CMI contribute to a better future?

    Apart from the fact that CMI is a green alternative to chemical scale inhibitors: fertile soil is scarce and should be used as much as possible to provide people with food. For the production of CMI we use residual streams from our product processes. CMI thus does not use any additional land. Moreover, we extract as many useful products as possible from the high-quality crops that we receive from our suppliers.

  5. Who uses CMI?

    Drinking water company Vitens has used CMI since 2009 to keep the membranes in its treatment plants limescale-free. Other drinking water companies have now also become clients. Evides is using CMI to produce process water for industry. On oil rigs, seawater is the only water source and offshore companies use CMI for their desalination plants. CMI has been used for many years in cleaning agents, such as dishwasher tablets and laundry detergents. Adding CMI enables producers to make their cleaning agents more sustainable and plant-based. Interest in CMI is increasing rapidly as consumers demand ‘green’ shampoo and laundry detergents. CMI is an environmentally-friendly, biobased, circular product that contributes to a sustainable, plant-based future.

Gerald van Engelen
CMI is biodegradable, harmless to humans and the environment, and contains high levels of renewable carbon”
Gerald van Engelen
General Manager at Cosun Biobased Experts

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