Olive kernel powder as compostable ingredient for bio-based coatings

olive kernel powder as natural ingredient for coatings

Sustainable coatings are made from renewable resources. Are you a coating manufacturer? We have found a new way to make coatings more sustainable by replacing harmful ingredients with very finely ground olive kernels.

Olive kernels are a residual product from the production of olive oil. It is estimated that up to 1.5 million tons of olive kernels are discarded each year as a by-product of olive oil production and are available as green ingredient.

Not using the kernels is a shame because olive kernels can be reused in many applications. In coatings, but also in adhesives or paints.

Read this article to find out why olive kernels are such a fantastic and sustainable raw material for coatings. Or contact us directly to discuss how to replace ingredients in your coating production with sustainable alternatives.

Adhesivesandcoatings is committed to making the coatings and adhesives industry more sustainable. We are constantly looking for innovations that have a significant positive impact on the environment.

We found a new solution, using olive kernels as a compostable and biodegradable ingredient for coatings. Finely ground olive kernels have properties that make them a viable alternative to many synthetic or non-renewable materials used in coatings.

Why finely ground olive kernels as a coating ingredient?

There are numerous reasons why olive kernels ground into powder is a good ingredient for coatings.
The main advantages of olive kernel powder for coatings are:

Natural compostable coating ingredient

Olive kernels are a renewable resource and are compostable. Many coatings today are based on raw materials derived from fossil fuels. This is no longer necessary. Olive kernel powder is a perfect alternative.

Strengthening properties of coatings

Olive kernels are very hard. By grinding olive kernels superfine, you get a powder with particles ranging from 0-100 to 0-50 microns in size. These superfine olive kernel particles preserve the strength of the olive kernel. Namely: hardness and scratch resistance.

This is what makes olive kernels such a functional ingredient for coatings. By using the olive kernel powder as a raw material in coatings, you get a very hard and scratch resistant coating.

Additional Properties

In addition to the properties mentioned above, kernels can be used to impart additional properties to coatings. By using coarser parts of the grains, the coating can be textured to act as a non-slip coating.
They can also provide water repellency to the coating and improve gloss.

But olive kernel powder is not only used for its robust properties. The ground olive kernels can also be used to add texture to coatings. Ideal if you are looking for a compostable ingredient to make coatings slip-resistant.

Kernels for a thicker coating

Finally, ground olive kernel powder can be used to thicken coatings if desired. This makes olive kernel powder an environmentally friendly alternative to polymeric texture powders and lightweight fillers.

Olive pits in coatings, the chemicals explained

We have just listed some benefits of olive kernel powder as a natural ingredient in coatings. The reason we are so excited about olive kernels powder is because they have so many positive properties. Here is a brief explanation of how olive kernel powder come to have these properties.

Olive kernels are a renewable resource consisting of lignin and cellulose. These two components have a reactive surface, which means they contain hydroxyl (-OH) groups. These -OH groups can be used to form new chemical bonds with other molecules. This process is called functionalization.

By functionalizing olive kernel particles, their properties such as surface energy, hydrophobicity, or biocompatibility can be modified. For example, in coating applications, functionalization can be used to improve the hydrophobicity of the particles or to impart other properties to the ingredient.

Kernels ground into microparticles

What also makes olive kernels a good ingredient is the ability to grind them very finely. Grinding olive kernels to microparticles, significantly increases the surface area of the particles. This has a twofold effect:

  • First, it improves the possibility of functionalization, as more -OH groups are available for chemical bonding.
  • Second, it allows the particles to be more evenly and effectively incorporated into the coating.

The fineness of olive kernel particles also makes them ideal for advanced coating applications. They can be used in thin, high-performance coatings. In addition, the olive kernel powder can provide a smooth finish to coatings.

However, less finely ground particles also have several advantages and applications, as briefly mentioned above.

Olive kernel powder can replace several non-durable coating ingredients

Because olive kernels have naturally strong properties such as hardness, stability and minimal swelling or deformation when in contact with liquids, they are a good choice as an ingredient for coatings that require robustness.

Are other properties desired? The composition of olive kernels makes them ideal for functionalization, and the powder can also have other strong properties such as water repellency.

Finally, olive kernel powder does not affect the color of the coating. The powder has a light beige color, low oil content and low water absorption capacity. The latter allows for improved hydrophobicity in certain formulations.

The potential of olive kernel powder makes them a good natural alternative to many non-durable coating ingredients. The powder can make up between 5% and 75% of the coating product.
Ground olive kernels are therefore a good replacement for the following ingredients:


Traditional fillers such as calcium carbonate, talc, or silica are often used to control the viscosity, texture, and thickness of coatings. Olive kernels, finely ground into powder, can provide a durable alternative with added benefits such as hardness and stability.

Reinforcing agents

Substances used to increase the mechanical strength of a coating, such as glass or carbon fiber, can be partially replaced by ground olive kernels, which have naturally high hardness and stability.


Abrasives are added to some coatings to create a particular texture or to prepare the surface for further treatment. Olive kernel powder can be used as a natural, biodegradable abrasive.

Anti-slip additives

For coatings that require an anti-slip surface, such as floor coatings, ground kernels, albeit in slightly coarser pieces, can provide a natural, rough texture that reduces the need for synthetic anti-slip additives.


Although olive kernel powder is unlikely to be a complete replacement for binders such as resins or latex, their physical properties, such as hardness and stability, can contribute to the overall binding properties of the coating. Especially when combined with other binders.

Matting agents

Silica or other matting agents are often used to achieve a matte finish. Finely ground olive kernels, depending on the degree of processing and the amount used, can give the coating a natural matte effect.

Why choose olive kernel powder over other natural coating ingredients?

There are several biomass options that offer a more sustainable alternative to conventional ingredients used in coatings. These include almond shells, peach and apricot kernels, rice hulls, walnut shells, corn, and potatoes.

Tests show that olive kernels are superior in hardness and stability. In addition, they are completely vegan and have a low score on the list of allergens.

Plus, it is a by-product left over from making olive oil. So, the knife cuts both ways. No crops need to be specially harvested.

Are you wondering if the olive kernel powder could be a valuable, biodegradable ingredient in your production as well?

In the search for more sustainable and environmentally friendly coating solutions, finely ground olive kernel particles are a promising ingredient. Their natural composition and potential for functionalization make them an excellent choice for manufacturers who want to be at the forefront of the greening of the coating industry.

Will you join us in the challenge of developing a rock-solid coating that not only replaces the base ingredients with kernels, but is also fully biodegradable?

Or would you like to know more about how the powder can make your coatings more sustainable and improve their performance? Get in touch with us!

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