Natac opens the doors of its facilities in Hervás to host the inaugural meeting of the SUSTAINEXT Project

  • The first European-funded flagship initiative in the field of botanical extract manufacturing.
  • The primary objective is the industrial deployment of an intelligent, dynamic analytical manufacturing plant that seamlessly integrates the entire supply chain, facilitating cascading valorisation of feedstock.

Last week, Natac kicked off the implementation of SUSTAINEXT, marking the beginning of a groundbreaking venture. Natac welcomed its partners from across Europe to their facilities in Hervás, Spain, for a two-day meeting. Together, this consortium of 21 stakeholders will breathe life into SUSTAINEXT, the flagship project boasting a budget of €22 million, with a grant of €14 million from the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU). The project’s mission is to revolutionize the botanical extracts industry through a unique model that can subsequently be replicated by the European bio-based sector. This flagship endeavor, the 14th of its kind in Europe, will be the inaugural project of its category to be established in Spain. Over the course of 54 months, the 21 partners will collaborate to achieve the established objectives.

As a result of the SUSTAINEXT project, Natac will solidify its position as the most competitive and sustainable botanical extract company in the global industry. The primary objective is the resource-efficient utilisation through the implementation of a versatile, multi-product NetZero Carbon digital processing facility with a capacity of 20,000 metric tons. This circular and disruptive model is based on the DYANA concept, an analytical, dynamic, and intelligent extract factory that seamlessly integrates the entire supply chain from raw materials to end-users, enabling cascading valorisation of the feedstock. Batch-optimised based on the initial feedstock composition, it delivers maximum value with twin goals of zero waste and zero emissions.

SUSTAINEXT will be industrially implemented using six sustainable and locally sourced European feedstocks. Three medicinal and aromatic crops (rosemary, lemon verbena, and chamomile) will be cultivated in Extremadura, in abandoned tobacco fields, as a shift towards healthier crops. These crops will also be grown in fields with solar panels, optimising land use. Additionally, it will demonstrate how botanical material recycling presents an opportunity to breathe new life into underutilised biological materials, utilising three agro-industrial byproducts (olive, artichoke/thistle, and pomegranate).

The botanical extracts sector is a thriving market with immense potential for technological advancement through the utilisation of new concepts that SUSTAINEXT will develop. These advancements will propel the industry towards an integrated, dynamic, environmentally friendly, and cascading model, with the ambition of achieving zero pollution and zero carbon emissions. There is a clear business opportunity with a remarkably high market potential to implement a large-scale disruptive industrial model that enables the production of plant-based ingredients, while meeting the three key market drivers: cost competitiveness, guaranteed quality/traceability, and production sustainability.

The SUSTAINEXT project will enable:

– Generate socio-economic benefits in Extremadura. This Spanish region with a strong agricultural and livestock tradition, located in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, is currently facing several challenges. This presents a key opportunity to unlock new value chains in the region, through the utilisation of selected medicinal and aromatic plants (rosemary, chamomile, and lemon verbena), as well as olive, artichoke, and pomegranate organic material, which will generate new business opportunities and employment, both directly and indirectly. Natac, in the SUSTAINEXT framework, aims to actively participate and have a positive impact in addressing the region’s challenges and seeking solutions.

– Establish new alternatives to the tobacco plant industry. 98% of tobacco cultivation in Spain takes place in Extremadura, encompassing a total of 8,664 hectares. Presently, this industry is seeking fresh alternatives that enhance its economic viability and garner greater social acceptance through the cultivation of healthier crops. This is where medicinal and aromatic plants, which Natac employs to produce its extracts, come into play, offering a viable and profitable opportunity.

– Shift from photovoltaic to agri-voltaic solar energy. Extremadura stands as the Spanish region with the highest installed capacity of photovoltaic solar energy, intensifying the competition for land usage and resulting in increased carbon emissions due to land use change. Agri-power has emerged as a sustainable model, effectively combining the production of clean and affordable electricity with agricultural production.

Valorise agro-industrial organic material. This represents one of the greatest challenges for the region of Extremadura, ranking fifth in Spain in terms of agro-industrial organic material production, with an annual output of 6,800 tonnes. Currently, these resources are underutilised raw materials with significant potential for the development of new healthy ingredients.

Natac, a global leader in sustainable botanical extract production, with its main manufacturing facility located in Hervás, opens its doors to serve as the epicentre of the SUSTAINEXT project. Leading a consortium of experts from 20 partners, who bring diversity, excellence, and strength to ensure the technological, technical, and social progress of the project.

Quotes from Natac and CBE JU representatives

‘The SUSTAINEXT project solidifies Natac’s long-standing strategy, which was initiated in 2010, to embrace the circular bioeconomy as a sustainable business model. Our mission has remained steadfast: to transfer scientific knowledge into industrially viable and sustainable projects that generate value and enhance people’s lives. Today, we celebrate the fact that this commitment is acknowledged and supported by a multitude of stakeholders, encompassing public and private entities, both for-profit and non-profit, from numerous industries and sectors. Furthermore, our commitment resonates with end consumers, who ultimately drive our success. Guided by this momentum, our aim is to continue this strategy and spearhead this movement with a holistic, multi-impact business-led approach such as SUSTAINEXT.’– Antonio Delgado, CEO of Natac.

‘The SUSTAINEXT project is showing Europe how the circular bio-based industries can create jobs, attract talent, and spur business opportunities in rural regions like Extremadura. The project will put in place a sustainable and efficient bioeconomy business model based on zero-waste and zero-pollution processes integrated with renewable energy. Hervás will set a new standard in sustainable progress with an innovative and first-of-its-kind biorefinery; I hope their example will ignite a paradigm shift that empowers regions and sectors to embrace the circular bio-based industries.’ –  Nicoló Giacomuzzi-Moore, CBE JU Executive Director ad interim.


The members of the consortium had the chance to visit Natac’s biorefinery in Hervás (Spain), epicentre of the project.

About Natac

Natac specialises in producing sustainable plant extracts with proven health benefits. Their expert team conducts thorough research and development to deliver high-performance, top-quality solutions across diverse industries.  The company’s sustainable business model involves establishing and maintaining relationships with farmers, large food companies and other stakeholders, and this enables the company to offer ingredients from different regions and are extracted with innovative technologies. The integration of a variety of processes, technologies and equipment in unparalleled synergy allows us to control the cycle from farmer to finished product.

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Noela González – Chief Marketing Officer / +34 918 27 64 70



Industries: Biotechnology, Life Sciences

Company size: 51-200 employees

Headquarters: Alcorcón, Madrid

Type: Privately Held

Founded: 2010

Specialties: Mediterranean herbal extracts, Grapevine & Olive tree derived ingredients, Natural Ingredients manufacturer, Rhodiola extracts, and Saffron extracts.

The project is supported by the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking and its members.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CBE JU. Neither the European Union nor the CBE JU can be held responsible for them.

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The information is accessible in several countries and can include statements or product classifications not applicable in your country. The claims mentioned refer only to ingredients and, therefore, do not refer to finished products.