VDLV, n°1 European producer of Vaping-Grade Nicotine
Publi reportage #23 E-Cig Mag : March/April/May 2019
The French e-liquid manufacturer continues its quality approach by integrating its vaping-grade nicotine manufactured in Pessac inside every e-liquid ranges, Vincent dans les Vapes and CirKus.
What is vapological nicotine?
Let’s first reiterate that nicotine is a molecule which is naturally present in tobacco, but also in certain plants, such as tomatoes and aubergines. It is of the alkaloid family, and is rapidly eliminated by the organism. Nicotine is not carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic, but is toxic at high doses. In its pure liquid form, it is obtained through extraction from tobacco leaves. Known for many years for its insecticide virtues, nicotine is also used by the pharmaceutical industry in the manufacturing of patches and chewing gum. Its application in the vaping domain is quite recent. While there are European companies who import of purify nicotine, currently only three countries in the world extract and produce liquid nicotine from tobacco leaves: China, India and more recently the USA. Their concentrations and impurities (nitrosamines, alcaloides, etc.) remain variable.
The procedure to extract nicotine developed by VDLV is based on “soft technology,” with low aggressiveness towards the product, whose purity exceeds the pharmaceutical requirements of the market (European Pharmacopoeia PE and American USP).
For the first time, this “vaping-grade” nicotine, produced in Pessac in Gironde, is specifically intended for inhalation. Its manufacturing does not require the use of chlorinated solvents. From the selection of plots where the tobacco plants are grown to the final distillation, VDLV controls the entire procurement and production chain, thus guaranteeing optimal traceability.
Extraction technology based on green chemistry
This method of design and industrial exploitation, developed in total harmony with the principles of green chemistry, ensures optimal management of the material flows. The entirety of the production unit is based on a closed circuit, limiting the supply of reverse pure water while generating very little waste. The technology used enables the reduction of use or generation of substances which are harmful for the environment, and it limits the presence of impurities in the product. VDLV also recycles a part of its waste by supplying mulch (tobacco residue) to local methane-producing companies, to produce energy and fertilizer.
Nicotine extracted from French tobacco
Supported from the start by the New Aquitaine region, VDLV always had the ambition to produce vapological nicotine from tobacco plants cultivated in France. This type of production requires the use of tobacco with strong nicotine power. Until recently, French tobacco was mainly cultivated for smoking. The varieties were selected for their taste properties. However, the nicotine levels of these species is too low to be exploited industrially by VDLV.
Agricultural engineers in Bergerac performed painstaking work to select the varieties of plants which could meet the needs of VDLV. From 2017, test parcels are being cultivated in Dordogne, with the aim of verifying the compatibility of these new varieties with agricultural exploitation. The first results are very satisfactory, and the nicotine concentration of these new varieties corresponds to the dimensions of VDLV’s industrial tooling, and potentially to the needs of vaping partners and colleagues.
The long-term objective is also to build a strong link with local farmers, encouraging them to develop innovative cultivation techniques, such as experimenting with varieties of semis or the application of new agrochemical solutions.
Vaping-grade nicotine is already inside every VDLV e-liquids.
The integration of vaping-grade nicotine into VDLV e-liquids is done in multiple stages.
While awaiting the time that the rendering capacities can cover the totality of its needs, in 2017 VDLV chose to present a foretaste of this nicotine in a collection of 3 e-liquids of the range Origin nV by Vincent dans les Vapes. The nicotine produced was extracted from foreign tobacco plants.
Once it had been totally chemically defined, VDLV was able to use it in its 2018 liquids.
Thanks to the engagement of the local agronomists and tobacco growers, the continuation of this development naturally turned to the use of tobacco cultivated in France for the production of its pure nicotine liquid. After a very convincing first test year, the selected plants are again being grown from next spring in Dordogne.
If the climatic conditions are favourable, the growing number of farmers interested by this project should ensure a significant increase in the quantity of dark tobacco harvested.
Anchoring its development in sustainability through green chemistry and industrial ecology remains a priority challenge for the employees of VDLV, which is thus continuing its innovations following the principle of circular economy.