In Slovakia, German specialty chemical company Evonik Industries is planning to build the world’s first industrial-scale plant for rhamnolipids, which are used as biosurfactants in shower gels and detergents.
The “three-digit-million euro” investment at Slovenská Ľupča supports a strategic partnership between Evonik and consumer goods giant Unilever that was announced in 2019. Unilever has set a target to remove fossil fuel-based ingredients from cleaning products by 2030.
“We invest more than €400 million a year in our research and development,” says Harald Schwager, Evonik’s Chief Innovation Officer. “The journey of rhamnolipids from the initial idea to the finished product has been long, but it is worth it. This partnership with Unilever is a result of our expertise in biotechnology. “
Rhamnolipids are biodegradable but also high-performing, with “excellent” foaming properties and skin benefits.