Evonik has started construction of the world’s first commercial rhamnolipid production facility in Slovenská Ľupča, Slovakia.
The new plant, a triple-digit million-euro investment and due to open next year, will make biosurfactants that are 100% bio-based and 100% biodegradable.
Rhamnolipids are a class of biosurfactants which are sustainably manufactured via a fermentation process using European corn sugar as the main raw material.
This use of biogenic carbon requires no petrochemical feedstocks or tropical oils, 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.
Their pleasant taste also enables the formulation of oral care products, such as toothpaste, without strong taste masking components, it added.
“Today is an important day for our partnership with Unilever, our employees in Slovakia, our Nutrition & Care division, and for our planet,” said Yann d'Hervé, head of Evonik's Care Solutions business line.
“We are delighted that the construction of our new biosurfactant plant is now underway,” he added.