Four decades of pioneering spirit – the history behind HUMINTECH
Image source NRW BANK
HUMINTECH extracts humic acids and humic substances from Rhenish Leonardite, a highly oxidized form of soft lignite. While lignite is nowadays mostly used as an energy source, HUMINTECH focuses on the material, CO2-neutral use of the raw material. In years of research and development, the company has developed a humic acid-based product range that provides new solutions for many urgent problems, especially in agriculture and livestock breeding – from organic soil conditioners and biostimulants through animal feed additives to wastewater and soil decontaminators.
Combining the old and the new
For HUMINTECH it’s all about bringing old and new knowledge into accordance: The tradition the company is steeped in reaches back to the days of German chemist Franz Carl Achard, who described and researched humic substances from lignite back in the 16th century. On the other end is the sharp eye of modern science and analysis technology, that makes it possible to check old assumptions and traditional user knowledge and make the underlying processes more effective.
In the knowledge that lignite has much more to offer than just a heating value, efforts were already being made in the early 1970s, together with the University of Bonn, to find ways of reusing Rhenish lignite mines in a sustainable way and at the same time renaturing them. The cooperation resulted in the organic soil conditioner PERLHUMUS, which is still one of the key products of HUMINTECH today.
Curiosity and inventiveness
The strongly oxidized near-surface Leonardite in the Rhenish mining area is a valuable and at the same time underestimated raw material with amazing properties. The entrepreneurs Müfit Tarhan and Aydogan Cengiz had recognized this when they took over the company in 1999. A good measure of curiosity and inventiveness has always been a trait of the long-standing business partners:
“After we left the tourism industry, we originally intended to invest in wineries. We noticed that there were drastic soil problems in many cultivation areas. We set out to find a solution – and found humic acids,” Tarhan recalls.
The trained chemist quickly realized that humic substances would not only help vineyards and post-mining landscapes. What happened then is reflected in today’s company portfolio of more than 30 products: In HUMINTECH’s own laboratories and together with partners from science and industry, the company constantly developed new solutions for user problems, that today help people in more than 60 countries around the world to keep their soils, fields and animals healthy.
New location, new opportunities
The year 2013 marks the next important milestone in the company’s history: HUMINTECH moved headquarters from Düsseldorf to Grevenbroich, right in the middle of the Rhenish mining district and thus directly to the source of the raw material. 2015 saw the expansion and modernization of the production facility as well as the research and development department to meet the increasing demand for products.
Today, HUMINTECH is one of the most innovative medium-sized companies in Germany. In the meantime, it has become market leader in the manufacture of humic acid-based products – a success story that is also reflected in numerous prizes and awards in recent years. And since the potential of humic acids is far from being fully explored and exhausted, this story is not yet over.
Learn more about the history of lignite research and the company.