Investment Opportunities in Production of Caffeine

Monday, July 2, 2018

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Investment Opportunities in Production of Caffeine. Extraction of Caffeine from used Tea Leaves. Tea Waste Management


Caffeine in pharmaceuticals is considered as a drug that acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system (CNS). It is one of the most widely used drug in the world and is known for containing psychoactive substances. It is a bitter substance containing white crystalline like purine, mostly methylxanthine alkaloid. They are found in seeds, nuts or even leaves of few plants that are said to be native of South America or East Asia. Usually, the main source of caffeine is said to be coffee beans. The main usage of caffeine is to prevent the consumer from drowsiness and improve their performance. Caffeine is found in many beverages like coffee, tea, cola among others and is heavily consumed by most adults globally. Consumption of 400grams of caffeine is safe for an adult but its consumption by adolescents must be limited to prevent from future illness.

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system (CNS). Caffeine is a naturally-occurring component present in coffee beans, cocoa beans, guarana, and tea leaves. Caffeine is a white crystalline purine, mostly a methylxanthine alkaloid, with bitter taste.

The consumption of caffeine in adequate amounts improves the reaction time, alertness, concentration, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Moreover, it helps in protecting against various types of cancer, including liver, colon, and colorectal cancers.

Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance compound observed in plant constituents such as cocoa beans and expresso, the kola nut, guarana berries, tea leaves and includes a long history of human utilization. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug which acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system. It is a white crystalline purine, very often a methylxanthine alkaloid consisting of bitter taste.

Caffeine has a wide application range, right from food and beverage to pharmaceutical to flavor and fragrance. Caffeine is beneficial in burning fats, improves drastically physical performance, fights depression and fatigue and also protects from many diseases. The consumption of caffeine in adequate amounts improves the reaction time, alertness, concentration, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Moreover, it helps in protecting against various types of cancer, including liver, colon, and colorectal cancers.

Process of extraction of Caffeine from tea waste

Caffeine also comes from tea leaves and other tea wastes. The isolation of caffeine from tea leaves is a difficult task and presents the chemist with a major problem. Caffeine does not occur alone in tea leaves, but is accompanied by other natural substances like cellulose, tannins, flavonoid pigments and chlorophyll from which it must be separated. This separation can be very costly due to involvement of many chemicals and sophisticated laboratory is needed. Apart from this caffeine can also be recovered from the waste tea or from the residue left behind after the preparation of the tea.

Tea Waste

Tea waste can be used at broad level to recover the residual caffeine. For this purpose firstly the source from where the tea waste is generated has to be identified. Regarding this tea waste generated from various tea processing industries has to be collected and brought to the extraction plant for extraction of caffeine. The extraction of caffeine is known to be a multi-stage counter-current extraction technique. The extraction plant is broadly sub-divided into three sections, namely:

·         Pre-treatment section.

·         Extraction section.

·         Post-treatment section.

Extraction of caffeine from tea waste is a three stage process which are described one by one below:

1. Pre Treatment Section

The very first step of extraction is called pre-treatment. For this purpose, in the pre-treatment section, tea waste, lime and water are mixed. The mixing ratio of these three ingredients is pre-fixed and always kept constant. After mixing them in the predefined ratio, the mixture prepared is then cooked at elevated temperature in a mixing device called cooker-cum-mixer. The purpose of the pre-treatment is that by cooking the tissues of the tea waste gets loosen which helps in the efficient extraction of caffeine in the extractor. This is the main reason why pre-treatment is done.

2.  Extraction Section

In this section, a suitable solvent is used to extract caffeine tea waste. In this process, the solvent is recovered subsequently and recycled back to the system. The addition of the solvent leads to the generation of crude caffeine. Complete operation in this section is carried out in a continuous mode other than batch operation. A continuous feed of waste is given to the reactor to maintain the continuity of the reactor system. Inside the extractor, the waste comes in contact with the solvent in counter-current way which leads to the extraction of caffeine in stage-wise manner. Caffeine is recovered from the miscella, a mixture of lime tea waste and water which is stored in the balancing tank in the form of crude caffeine. During this storage all the solvent is removed from the crude caffeine. The removal of solvent from crude caffeine occurs by a solvent recovery method called evaporation. The solvent recovered in this process is recycled back to the extractor. Before it is recycled back to the extractor it is separated from water in solvent-water separator. Crude caffeine is then subjected to the post-treatment which gives pure caffeine.

The residual decaffeinated tea waste from the extractor moves to the desolventizer where the entrapped solvent in the tea waste is removed by heating. Solvent recovered through this process is recycled back to the system extractor.

3.  Post Treatment

In the last step, crude caffeine obtained from extraction section which is kept in the storage tank is processed further in order to obtain the final purified caffeine. Here, in this section, crude caffeine is firstly made to dissolve in hot water to separate it from wax. After that, the remaining coloured solution which contains caffeine is treated with activated charcoal and filtered. The activated charcoal being capable of absorbing all impurities absorbs all the impurities and color. The decolorized caffeine solution left behind is then concentrated by means of evaporation and allowed to crystallize. Caffeine crystals are then separated from mother liquor by centrifuging. By centrifuge the small crystals of caffeine tends to agglomerate and thus caffeine is obtained. The caffeine thus obtained is dried further in a drier and pulverized to convert it into powder form before its packing.

The global caffeine market is segmented based on type, application, and geography. Based on type, the market is categorized into synthesized caffeine and natural caffeine. Based on application, the market is segmented into food, beverage, pharmaceutical, flavor & fragrance, and others. The report analyzes the market trends in different regions such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

The global caffeine market is driven by the benefits associated with the intake of caffeine such as enhanced performance, improved concentration, and reduced risk of cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Increased awareness of health fitness has led surge in consumption of sports drinks, which have higher concentrations of caffeine, for use as a performance enhancer. However, government regulations to monitor the quantity of caffeine in food products and beverages could hamper the market growth. 

The caffeine market is segmented by product and by application. On the basis of product segment the caffeine market can be further divided into synthesis caffeine and natural caffeine. The natural caffeine is recently given much importance due to its presence in the coffee beans, tea and other such related products. Moreover, the synthesis caffeine contains raw materials like chloroacetic or cyanide acid. Furthermore, on the basis of applications the caffeine market can be segmented into food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, flavor and fragrance and others. Food and beverages is the highest growing sector in the caffeine market and is expected to grow during the forecast period. Application in pharmaceuticals and flavors considers a moderate growth and dignified research and development is taking place to boost the segment.

Cost Estimation:

Capacity      0.30 MT/day       

Plant and Machinery cost        24.00 Lakhs

Rate of Return (ROR)     45.00 %

Break Even Point (BEP)  49.00 %     

TCI    138.00 Lakhs

Cost of Project      138.00Lakhs


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