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Lemongrass oil has a strong lemon-like odor due to high citral content (75-90%). The minimum commercial requirement is 70% citral content. The major quality checking measures are its citral content and its solubility in alcohol. This is an essential ingredient in toiletry products such as toilet soaps, bath salts, etc.
It is also employed in artificial lemon flavoring and in the manufacture of ionenes. Ionenes are very important for the production of artificial flavor, perfumes, and soaps and as raw material for vitamin A manufacturing. Here in this article, we intend to explore how to start a small scale lemongrass oil manufacturing business.
The oil is of a reddish-yellow to reddish-brown color, with a strong, lemon odor. It is also used in pharmaceutical preparations, such as pain balm, disinfectants, and mosquito repellent cream.
Lemongrass Oil Market Potential
Lemongrass oil is an important essential oil. As the demand for the aromatic cosmetics is increasing, the demand for this oil is also growing. Additionally, the awareness about the advantages of essential oils is growing among the Indian population. Furthermore, mass consumers are becoming conscious about the harmful effects of the chemical cosmetics and personal care products.
Globally India is one of the major producers of this oil. Generally, imports dominate the trade of this oil in the industrialized countries. Some of the major importers are Western Europe and North America. However, Japan has accounted for about 10% of total demand. As the demand for this oil is growing, the areas of cultivation of lemon grass is also increased. Farmers are showing more interests for producing the lemon grass. In this scenario, starting a lemongrass oil manufacturing business is a financially viable project for the entrepreneurs in India.
Lemongrass Oil Manufacturing Business Compliance
This oil has the versatile usage in the industry as the raw material. So, it is advisable to check your state law before commencing the business. Here we put a basic list of requirements.
- First of all, determine the form of your business and register accordingly.
- Apply for a Trade License from the local Municipal authority.
- Apply for Udyog Aadhaar MSME online registration. It is optional. However, it helps in getting loans under the Govt. subsidy scheme.
- If you want to sell the oils for flavoring the food, then you will need to apply for FSSAI license.
- Check if VAT or CST applicable or not.
Lemongrass Oil Manufacturing Plant Setup & Machinery
The most important aspect is, you must establish the plant nearby lemongrass plantation field. So that you can procure the raw material easily. For a small scale operation, 1000 Sq Ft covered area is sufficient. However, check the electricity supply and availability of water and transportation facilities.
List Of Machinery
- Evaporator vessel
- Florentine flask
- Steam boiler
- Pump (condensate)
- Pump (cooling water)
- Cooling tower
Lemongrass Oil Manufacturing Process & Raw Materials
Steam distillation is the preferred method for the large scale lemongrass oil production. First of all, you will need to produce the steam in a boiler. Then introduce the steam into the vessel which contains the leaves and water.
Then locate the leaves on a grid placed at a certain distance above the level of the water which fills the bottom of the vessel. The water is vaporized indirectly by steam flowing in a pipe coil submerged to the water.
The water vapor plus the distilled oil coming from the evaporator vessel is recovered in a separate water cooled condenser. Then separate the mixture flowing out of the condenser by decantation in a Florentine flask.
The lemongrass oil floats at the top. Here you can separate it easily. However, the distilled water still contains some soluble parts of the oil and therefore is sent back to the evaporator.
The major raw material is lemon grass. And the grass plants grow well in soils not suitable for richer production plants. From sandy and rather dry soils yield relatively more oil and oil of higher citral content than plants from very fertile soils.
A lemongrass plantation has a life cycle of 6 to 8 years. The oil yield reaches its maximum around the third or fourth year and its annual average value ranges between 15 and 20 kg/ha with three crops per year. The ratio of oil to leaves is equal to 0.348%. Therefore, you will need to procure about 288 kg og lemon grass to produce 1 kg of essential lemongrass oil.