Evonik has announced that it is to build the world’s first industrial-scale facility for rhamnolipid biosurfactants at its site in Slovenská Ľupča, Slovakia.
Construction is scheduled for completion by the end of 2023 and the company described this as a triple-digit million-euro investment.
The plant will use the biotechnology platform of Evonik’s Nutrition & Care business to make the rhamnolipids via a fermentation process using sugar as the main raw material. The company has already entered into a strategic supply partnership with Unilever to make new hand dishwashing detergent using them.
“Rhamnolipids are fully biodegradable and their low-impact life cycle means they are a sustainable alternative to conventional surfactants,” Evonik said. “Their exceptional foam-forming properties make them suitable for use in household cleaners and personal care products like shampoos and micellar waters.”