The use of sustainable palm oil and rapeseed oil

Palm oil

Palm oil comes from the oil palm or Elaeis guineensis. The oil is extracted from palm fruits. The palm fruits are orange/red and about 5 centimeters. They are together with hundreds in a dense, to a 25-pound heavy truss. An oil palm supplies about 3.6 tonnes fruit per hectare. This corresponds with 4000 liters of oil. The yield per hectare of palm oil is significantly higher than other oil crops such as rapeseed oil and sunflower oil, palm oil is therefore usually much cheaper than other vegetable oils. An oil palm can provide fruit the whole year, for 30 years.

Palm oil is refined or fractionated (filtered) so that different products are created, like:

Palm 37

This is the palm oil is in its natural form. At room temperature (20°C) is the largest portion of the oil solidified. Sonneveld uses this oil as a filler for pastes. It is not possible to form a paste with only palm 37. Such a paste is very hard at 10°C and at 37°C, almost completely melted. That’s why there is always a combination made with other oils and fats.

Palm stearine

By filtering the palm 37 at a given temperature the solidified crystals will be separated from the still-liquid oil. These solidified crystals form the hard phase of the palm oil and are mentioned as palm stearine. Palm stearine is also above the 37°C still fixed and can therefore be used to give a paste a “body” at higher storage temperatures.

Palm olein

The liquid fraction of palm oil, is the olein fraction. Palm olein is a very important oil for Sonneveld. This oil is in solution mainly used against carbonisation of baking tins. Unfortunately, palm olein still contains a few percent hard fraction. This causes that the oil at temperatures below 10°C is determined. That is why with release agents, mixtures from palm olein with, for example, rapeseed oil or sunflower oil are used.


The building of palm oil plantations in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia leads to deforestation and pollution of the environment. The estimated annual deforestation for palm oil plantations is estimated at almost 15 million hectares. Because the demand for palm oil will double the next 15 years, it is absolutely necessary to cultivate sustainable oil.

That’s why Sonneveld is a member of the: ‘Roundtable on Responsible Palm Oil’ (RPSO). RSPO is a global organisation that stimulates the use of sustainable palm oil and pays attention to the social conditions.

Rapeseed oil

In contrast to what people might expect, the rapeseed oil of Sonneveld is not made ​​of pure rapeseed but from coleseed or crossings of different coleseed plants.

Coleseed is extracted from the Brassica napus. A plant from the family where cabbage, radish and mustard belong. Rapeseed, however, is extracted from Brassica rapa. Both the Brassica napus and Brassica rapa are known to everyone in the Netherlands because they often grow along roadsides and ditch sides. All these plants are wild crops.

Differences between coleseed plants and rapeseed plants

The differences between the coleseed plants and rapeseed plants are very small and they are usually all called coleseed. Real wild cabbage is very rare in the Netherlands and occurs as the Brassica oleracae especially in the dunes.

Rapeseed oil or coleseed oil

Previously, in the Netherlands mainly oil from rapeseed (is “real” rape oil) is used. In the 19th century there were, in the Netherlands, dozens of rapeseed oil refineries where rape oil was refined into oil patent. This patentoil was mostly used in lamps.

Nowadays the terms rapeseed and coleseed oil are used interchangeably. This may cause confusion because the surrounding countries also use different names:

LanguageBrassica napansOil of the seeds of the Brassica napans
English      Rapeseed or Rape       Rapeseedoil
FrenchColzaHuile de Colza

Table: Names for rapeseed and rapeseedoil in other countries


English people often call coleseed oil Canola oil. This is done for marketing reasons. “Rape” has a negative connotation in English. Real Canola oil has a different fatty acid composition and is not the same as coleseed oil. Canola stands for Canadian oil low acid and is not used in Europe because it is pressed of genetically engineered seeds.

Globally, around 7 million tonnes of coleseed oil is produced. Most of this is used as cooking oil or margarine. Even coleseed oil is increasingly used to make biodiesel. China and Canada are the largest producers of coleseed. In Europe it is Germany and France that are the largest producers.

Rapeseed oil the most important for Sonneveld

For Sonneveld rapeseed oil is the most important oil. Each year we use large quantities of rapeseed oil. We use it in release agents, liquids, pastes and for our brand Proson. Next to that it is used in the powder factory to reduce the dusting from powders.

Vegetable oil

The advantages of rapeseed oil are the relatively low price in combination with a number of favourable product properties. Rapeseed oil starts smoking at 235˚C, that’s why it is very suitable as a raw material for release agents. Rapeseed oil also has a good ratio in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, so that rapeseed oil is healthier than, for example soybean oil. The oil will remain liquid at low temperatures so that shortening and liquids are, in spite of a cold storage, still liquid. Although the prices of vegetable oil will keep rising, for Sonneveld rapeseed oil will remain one of the major raw materials.