3D illustration of parts in car engine with lubricant oil on repairing
Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Heading

Inspired by other companies who are addressing climate change,
this company is making renewable alternatives to petroleum.

While it’s easy to understand the logic behind shifting away from fossil fuel dependency, it can be much harder to put that motivation into action. Our everyday lives are flooded with products derived from petroleum — from the transportation, we use to our personal care products, and plenty in between. Fortunately, emerging technologies are helping consumers gain access to a wide range of sustainable alternatives, with companies like Advonex International leading the charge.

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Advonex makes renewable chemicals to replace ingredients that are traditionally produced from petroleum. Their patented process replaces common petrochemicals with plant-based hydrocarbons that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while delivering superior performance. These sustainable alternatives can be used as ingredients in personal care products, like shampoo or body wash, or as lubricants in industrial settings. “We want to take the petroleum out of everybody’s lives,” explains Chad Joshi, who co-founded Advonex with Glenn Horner in 2012.

Most personal care products start with a simple mixture of oil and water. Active ingredients are then added to compose what will eventually be a shampoo, hair spray or other unique composition. While this method is effective, the use of these oils has a significant impact on the environment. This is where Advonex has created an innovative solution that allows manufacturers to remove fossil fuels while maintaining a high standard of quality. “Clearly, the ingredients that come out of petroleum have a value, but they are not sustainable to reproduce,” says Joshi. “What we are doing is using plant-based materials to produce the same chemical compositions.”

Advonex typically uses sources like canola oil, which can be produced without causing environmental harm. In addition to being eco-friendly and sustainable, plant-based hydrocarbons can often be offered at more competitive price points than traditional fossil fuel-based lubricants. That’s good news for personal care product manufacturers and other businesses who need to worry about their bottom line as well as their ethics.

Eco-friendly products aren’t just on the rise; they’re in high demand. “Consumers are demanding safer, more sustainable products for personal use,” Joshi says. “They’re not only deciding what to use, but looking at the ingredients — and quite often, they don’t like the ingredients they see in their shampoo, toothpaste or deodorant. Consumers are reaching out to companies and saying they want safer, more environmentally friendly products.”

In the late 2000s, Joshi and Horner saw alternative energy sources like solar and wind power making significant early moves in the marketplace. They were excited by the potential in these industries, but they saw a need to address petroleum specifically. “[Observing companies addressing climate change] is how we got to where we are, and we’re still very passionate about removing petroleum from our lives,” Joshi says. “It probably won’t happen in our lifetime, but we need to forge the path and move people in that direction.”

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Consumers are reaching out to companies and saying they want safer, more environmentally friendly products.”

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To date, Advonex has been recognized for its innovative technology by World Bio Markets, Ecovia Intelligence, and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Their primary focus continues to be in the personal care industry, and they’re currently leveraging partnerships with large plants across North America to increase production and distribution opportunities. The future is bright — and if Advonex has their way, it will be petroleum-free.

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