surfactantsWhile not widely known, can be found in almost every home on the planet.
they all chemical cleaning agent Which help remove dirt and grime, help the water and detergent mix, and even help reduce surface tension—which removes any water that’s being cleaned. It helps to make better contact with the thing. This means that they literally moisten the water.
The problem is that they are largely produced with fossil fuels, which means they add to humankind’s impact on climate change. In addition, some CleanersSuch as those used on cars or windows, can wash directly into rivers and streams, polluting natural waterways with hard-to-breakdown petrochemicals,
To solve this problem, chemical researcher developed a process that industrially produce surfactants made of renewable raw material Grown in Europe.
are called rhamnolipids, they are a new bio-surfactant one who performs to the same standard petroleum based surfactantstill need no petrochemical input – Only natural sugars.
The process is now reaching commercial production with its new multimillion-euro investment by Evonik Slovenska Zupza Facility in Slovakia.
biosurfactant The success was achieved through the clever use of two natural components – one sugar and the other fatty acids.
These were made from a fermentation process driven by a particular strain of bacteria.
previous attempts Produce surfactants from natural sugars was successful in avoiding petrochemical input, but sugars from tropical climates were needed. importing such foreign raw material had their own carbon footprint added. In contrast, this new process uses sugars from European-grown corn.
So far production of a chemical agent with low environmental impact only part of the challenge, as modern chemistry Must be easy to recycle or breakdown – specially designed for home use, such as soap and shampoo Which will wash off after use.
“Finally, it goes to the drain and sewage treatment plant,” says Dr. Hans Henning Wenko, Head of Research and Development at Evonik Care Solutions. “In some areas, it is even released directly into the environment.”
That’s why rhamnolipids, which are very Less toxic than conventional surfactants And biodegrade very easilyproving so practical industrial chemicals – especially when produced by a ‘protective strain’ of bacteria called Pseudomonas putida.
While other natural bacteria can convert fats into rhamnolipids, they usually do so very slowly or in very small amounts. Meanwhile, Pseudomonas putida is modified to form rhamnolipids. industrial scale,
“When we gave it the genetic tools to produce rhamnolipids in large quantities, we continuously optimized it,” says Venk. “To achieve this, we got bioengineers along with process experts, drug stores, and engineers. We benefit from our experience here development of surfactants,
It was teamwork that solved the first major problem – rhamnolipids made too much foam.
“The expertise of the physical chemist proved important,” explains evonic website“Because he was able to explain why a surfactant Some of whose parameters were changed suddenly behaved completely differently than before. ,
result is one cleaning tool which scores 100% on the Renewable Carbon Index (RCI), and also meets the requirements of OECD 301F and EN ISO 11734 for rapid. biodegradability in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
It is neutral enough in taste to be used in toothpaste, mild enough to use on the skin, safe enough to pour down the drain, but strong enough to use with no cleansing power industrial cleaner,
are rhamnolipids Suitable for use in shampoos, washing liquids, bath additives, facial cleansers, shower gels and kid-friendly soaps, It is also being adopted by leading brands of household cleanerssuch as Unilever, which regard this as an important part of their goal of ending fossil carbon use. Household and Textile Care Formulations by 2030.
biosurfactants Produced by Evonik on its own Slovenska Zupza Facility are in slovakia future of a chemical industry based on renewable raw material,