The greatest minds of our industry are behind many of our technological breakthroughs. And it all started with one very important scientist...

Dr. Twitchell was not just our first full-time chemist; he was also a pioneer in the oleochemicals industry. In 1886, at the age of 23, this Cincinnati-born chemist joined the Emery Candle Company, accepting the position also of the general manager. It was during this time that he discovered and perfected the well-known “Twitchell Process”.

Dr. Ernst Twitchell (1863 – 1929):
“The Grandfather of Oleochemicals”

Between1888 and 1915, he received five patents for fat splitting technology which, collectively, became known as the Twitchell Process. Without his discovery, methods to produce feedstock for distillation and modification may not have been developed much later. Such was its influence in the chemicals processing industry that in less than three decades, most of the soaps used in Germany, Holland and Scandinavia were made from fatty acids, of which 75% were produced using the Twitchell Process. It remained a method used well into the 1960s.

Receiving a patent in 1907, his discovery in making triacylglycerols led the way for future industry innovations in textiles and dyeing, oil paints, food industries and today, in bio-diesel - bringing forth the commercially important aspects of fats and oils of animal and plant origins. In 1917, he was awarded the prestigious Perkin Medal, the highest honour in United States’ chemical industry. To commemorate Dr. Twitchell’s invaluable contribution to the company and to the industry, the Twitchell Memorial Laboratory (in Building 53) at our Cincinnati manufacturing site was built in 1955 and still exists today – a reminder of what an innovative spirit can achieve.

Emery Candle Company’s lab where Twitchell’s many groundbreaking innovations were discovered
The Twitchell Memorial Laboratory (opened 1955) is part of Building 53 (completed 1970)


The world is just beginning to embrace renewable-based products, but we have always recognised the potential and significance of renewable resources for product quality and performance.

We have always been innovative, being able to manufacture one product from another or to innovate and use by-products in making solutions for complementary industries. After transitioning from using tallow to stearic acid to produce candles, by-products comprising glycerine and oleic acid were sold to soap manufacturers and wool makers.

Producing Environmentally Compatible Products

Since the 1880s, we have explored new manufacturing techniques and adapted methodologies of others for our own plants. Dr. Twitchell’s study of emulsions resulted in the first successful rewetting agent for Sanfordized fabrics and other oils suited for lubrication of natural and synthetic fibres – becoming the early forerunners of today’s broad line of surfactants. The revolutionary EMERSOL® Solvent Separation process, patented in 1938 and still used today, is a core process that enables the production of higher purity derivatives in the commercial production of stearic, oleic and special fatty acids. The Emery business continued its research efforts in renewable-based sources, focusing on vegetable and tallow-based oils.

At the same time, Henkel was also increasing its chemical production using naturally sourced feedstocks (codfish oil, tallow, vegetable). In 1910, pure glycerol production had begun with the company generating 328 tons of glycerine in the first year alone. By the 1930s, quality improvements in fatty acids production became the backbone of Henkel’s detergent business.

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Emery carved itself a prominent position in ester synthetic basestocks when its dimer acid plant came on stream in 1951. Innovations in this space resulted in fully compounded lubricants and greases for aviation, military, automotive and industrial uses. 1953 was a milestone year for the company when the Colgate-Emery Pressure Splitter replaced the Twitchell Process for splitting fat, and the proprietary ozone technology created products used in water treatment, aquaculture and odour control. In 1981, Emery began commercializing ethylene brassylate and Rose Ether® for insect repellent, dyes, inks, preservatives and pharmaceuticals.

The undercurrents of environmental issues were already escalating prior to the 1980s. Industry and government leaders had begun international dialogues to look for preventative solutions. Meanwhile, Henkel was already producing environmentally compatible products and, in 1987, incorporated environmental protection into its corporate guidelines, giving it the same priority as profits.

The company has since remained steadfast in improving its health, safety and environmental agenda. When Emery Oleochemicals was formed, we inherited established stewardship in various aspects of natural-based chemical production. Hence, our feedstock today comprises of mainly renewable sources. Having grown our production technology and technical capabilities to handle a wider range of renewable sources, we look forward to business growth in the sustainable chemicals space.

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Our manufacturing processes continue evolving to achieve optimum efficiency and incorporate new industry standards. From this, our agile, cutting-edge production facilities spawn a myriad of superior renewable-based products.

Cincinnati, USA
Driving innovations in bio-based and recycled-content polyols

An investment of USD50 million was made for a specialty ester facility designed to primarily develop bio-based and recycled-content polyols for polyurethane applications. Products marketed through our Eco-Friendly Polyols business platform are the next generation of renewable-based polyols catered to the growing rigid and flexible polyurethane markets (eg. furniture, bedding, automotive, housing, and construction industries) and CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers) applications. Bio-based solutions are offered through the EMEROX® product line and this project came on line in early 2015. INFIGREEN® assets and technology were acquired in 2013 and construction on a new facility to commercialize recycled-content polyols started in the same year.
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The state-of-the-art equipment in this site will additionally cater to the production of solutions for bio-pesticides, polymer additives and bio-lubricant applications.
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Loxstedt, Germany
Pioneering solutions in renewable polymer additives

Emery Oleochemicals’ USD18 million investments in Loxstedt were geared to expand Emery Oleochemicals’ market penetration in polymer additives. The investment facilitated the construction of an additional esterification plant and beading tower, designed to produce additives in a unique form that are advantageous to the market by being dust-free and with improved fluidity. These expansion projects bring together over 60 years of proven technology and innovation for high growth industries - such as housing, construction, and packaging - offered through our globally-recognized high performance plastic additives brands, LOXIOL® and EDENOL®. Future plans for this facility includes a growing bio-lubricants portfolio.

Telok Panglima Garang (TPG), Malaysia
Maturity in basic chemicals drives expansion in specialty portfolio

Emery Oleochemicals allocated approximately USD135 million to grow its reach in Asia Pacific, particularly in the home and personal care, bio-lubricants and plastics additives segments. Key projects include: Esterification facility billed as Asia Pacific’s first “integrated green polymers additives facility” producing innovative, sustainable additives solutions suited to the packaging, building, construction, electronics, and plastic toy industries. These solutions are sold through our LOXIOL® and EDENOL® brands. Methylester Fractionation plant to further support the production of fatty alcohols manufactured for the OleoBasics (commodities) business. Commissioned in early 2014.

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Specialty ester facility established as a joint venture with AK ChemTech. The entity, called Emery Aekyung, produces mainly a range of specialty co-surfactants used in personal care products. Expected commissioning in third quarter of 2015.

Sulphation process facility built in partnership with Desmet Ballestra to produce specialty fatty alcohols for household and personal care products, such as detergent, washing liquid and shampoo. Completed in 2014.

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Dr. Twitchell set the precedent for a passion in R&D. Since then, our scientists continue to achieve pioneering technologies in the chemicals industry.

In our R&D facilities, we have developed hundreds of new products. A significant milestone in research was achieved with the first industrial-scale production of alkyl polyglycosides in Cincinnati (during Henkel’s management), which are used in making mild surfactants. The site also became the world’s sole producer of azelaic acid (for plastics production) based on natural raw materials.

Where incredible discoveries are made.

Dr. Ernst Twitchell’s laboratory would be considered rudimentary today but his research was ahead of times. Applying what was likely a healthy dose of curiosity, patience and thoroughness, his place in the annals of chemistry was guaranteed with his pioneering work while at the Emery Candle Company. His modest laboratory was later replaced by the Twitchell Memorial Laboratory (Building 53). With the addition of the annex, Building 53A, opened 1970, the space more than doubled to over 100,000 square feet, and the technical staff grew to more than 80 by the mid-1980s.

Today, our growth strategy includes providing tailored, high-performance, sustainable solutions to meet the varying and niche needs of our global customers, supported by our network of Technical Development Centres (TDC):

Manufacturing complex, aerial view


The Cincinnati TDC provides support for all the chemical processes used in our North American production lines while driving the development of new solutions. It supports development work associated with bio-based polyols, which founded our Eco-Friendly Polyols business platform. In 2013, the TDC took on the INFIGREEN® technology based on
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recycling scrap polyurethane foam. Our Cincinnati operations will also focus on growing the Agro Green and Bio-Lubricants businesses, becoming global Centres of Excellence for these platforms. This necessitated yet another expansion expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
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Manufacturing complex, aerial view


The Loxstedt TDC, with its dedicated labs for product development, application testing and quality control, has been designated the Global Centre of Excellence for Green Polymer Additives. It is intended to meet the growing demand for high quality, sustainable solutions in the packaging, construction and coatings industries.

Manufacturing complex, aerial view

Telok Panglima Garang

TPG is our Centre of Excellence for the Home and Personal Wellness business platform and also has capabilities in testing and quality control that facilitate product customization and environment-friendly requirements. The Product and Application Development team here focuses on regional product development
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of solutions for home and personal care, bio-lubricants, agrochemicals and specialty derivatives. This site includes RSPO-certified manufacturing facilities for both Mass Balance and Segregated palm oils, which are increasingly sought after by the food, home and personal care industries.
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