Glycerine Soap Research

In 2007, ODAM opened its Swaraj Biodiesel Production Centre as a research station for biofuel and renewable energy research. Experiments with biodiesel and biogas using tree-based oil seeds such as jatropha, pongomia, and neem trees are currently underway. The program’s initial focus on jatropha as the primary seed for biofuel production has shifted and new research is being done to test the viability and cost-effectiveness of alternative local tree-based oil plants. At present, the primary function of the biodiesel center is to produce crushed seed cake to support ongoing terra preta experiments.

Ongoing Projects:
Seed cake as compost distributed to local farmers and ODAM organic farm
Researching biogas potential from de-oiled seed cake
Researching formulas for glycerine soap made from biodiesel waste

Private: Fairtrade Soap

Soap from Seeds

ODAM prepares to launch “Paruva Kaalam”, a Fairtrade soap produced by local Self Help Groups.

ODAM’s New Soap

What’s your earliest memory involving a smell?” After a moment’s hesitation, the ODAM staff give a flurry of responses, “Jasmine”; “Oranges”, “Sandalwood”; “The smell when the rain comes” suggests Seemai.

However, this isn’t just the ODAM staff reminiscing about their childhood, but an important research excerise, to help design ODAM’s very own Fairtrade soap- “Paruva Kaalam.”

Together with Design Impact, an American non-profit creative solutions company, ODAM have spent the last year perfecting the texture, colour and scent of their new soap to appeal to both Western and Indian consumers.

Produced from glycerin, a natural by-product of ODAM’s biodiesel plant, the soap is infused with a variety of locally grown flowers and fruits including jasmine, coconut and sugarcane. The project aims to provide employment for the local agricultural workers of Narikudi, many of whom earn less then $1 a day, and ODAM’s women’s self-help groups.

Currently ODAM are finalising the packaging for “Paruva Kaalam” which will be available soon in four scents representing each Tamil season: Spring, Summer, Winter and Rain.

Local People have been involved at every stage of this community project, from carpenters building the soap moulds to ODAM staff determining the scent and colour of the soap

Read the fascinating story of ODAM’s Fairtrade soap project on Design Impact’s blog:

Soap from seeds

Fruits, Vegetables, and Brainstorms

Developing a soap brand

My strength is boldness