Winds of change in biosurfactant production bring exciting prospects for the industry

The biosurfactant industry is rapidly changing, and it is up to the key actors to catch up with the movement.

In recent news, it was announced that the biosurfactants industry newcomers are reshaping its face by securing investments that range in millions of euros. According to the EU-Startups portal, these investments will allow these enterprises to “offer locally produced biosurfactants to companies seeking to develop sustainable, performant, and affordable products with surfactants as important performance ingredients”.

On the other hand, there are already industry-established names making moves around Europe to solidify their position in the biosurfactant landscape. These actions include the opening of new commercial-scale fermentation plants, according to Chemical & Engineering News. In addition, other big companies are scaling up their capacity to be able to deliver bigger and bigger payloads of biosurfactants, with one case aiming at producing 15.000 metric tons in the near future.

Surfactants are present as components in a variety of products in our daily lives: from shampoos to toothpastes, cosmetics, inks, paints, agrochemicals, food and even construction materials. According to ChemEurope, “over 20 million tonnes of surfactants are produced every year, of which the vast majority are relying heavily on unsustainable fossil- and/or palm oil feedstocks and are produced using harsh traditional chemical manufacturing processes”.

Biosurfactants offer the possibility of eliminating unsustainable components to make way for novel, cleaner components that are milder and that have a low environmental impact, which is in line with recent consumer trends. Moreover, biosurfactants do not compete with food production nor do they directly impact land use or marine resources, because mild and safe biological processes are applied for their production, making them innovative and circular.

There is a clear market need for a better biosurfactants’ offer from the producers in terms of performance, sustainability and price points Jowita Sewerska, Investment Director European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF)

In conclusion, it’s important that the market of biosurfactants keeps growing and generating opportunities for the companies that are taking the risk to develop them. There are challenges such as the fact that biosurfactants are generally more expensive to produce than commodity surfactants, but the potential environmental and human-related impact makes taking the risk worthwhile.

An original article by SECRETed.

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