Protéus by Seqens winner of the Potier Prize 2020


This year, the Pierre Potier 2020 prize was awarded to Protéus by Seqens, the group’s biotech subsidiary specialized in enzymatic biocatalysis, for the development of the Green Estolides project. This solvent-free and biodegradable process can be used as a lubricant, plasticizer, emulsifier and moisturizer, notably in cosmetic creams or chocolate.


Each year, the Pierre Potier Prize highlights and rewards initiatives by chemical companies in favor of sustainable development in 3 fields:

  • The design, manufacture and marketing of products in favor of the environment, and/or sustainable development for a notorious progress for the benefit of society,
  • The use of an environmentally friendly process, process or system,
  • The creation of a company or start-up whose technologies are related to green chemistry.

Created in 2006 by the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry, and today supported by the Fondation Maison de la Chimie and France Chimie, the Pierre Potier Prize has acquired great notoriety.

Thus, it has become a reference in terms of development and innovation policy towards a greener chemistry.


The Green Estolides project, started in 2016, is fully in line with the core missions of Protéus, which proposes, designs, and develops enzymes and biocatalytic processes for use in the chemical industry.

Estolides are polyesters of fatty acids, interesting for their texturizing, lubricating, plasticizing, emulsifying and moisturizing power. They are notably used in the automotive, cosmetics and food industries.

The objective of the project, currently in the pre-industrial phase, is to propose the design of estolides from vegetable oil and promote the reduction of the carbon footprint.

The challenge is to offer more natural cosmetic products to consumers.


Currently, estolides are synthesized from fatty acids at very high temperatures and in the presence of chemical catalysts. The products obtained are often highly colored and of unsatisfactory purity.

Green Estolides is more competitive because it allows working at lower temperatures (below 90°C) and without organic solvents.

In addition, the process is more eco-friendly: the estolides have a higher molecular weight and better purity. Protéus actively collaborates with other players in the estolides market to refine the structures and properties of the compounds.

Consumers are increasingly attentive to the composition of everyday products. Green Estolides is able to meet this need.

This project is perfectly in line with the Group’s CSR strategy and its ambition to reduce the carbon intensity of its activities by 75% by 2025.