Evonik drives sustainable biosurfactant revolution with inauguration of new facility in Slovakia

30 May 2024

Evonik has officially inaugurated its new sustainable biosurfactant plant together with key customers in Slovakia. The triple-digit million-euro facility is the first worldwide to manufacture industrial-scale quantities of rhamnolipid biosurfactants. These exceptionally high-quality, sustainable biosurfactants are already transforming the cleaning, beauty and personal care industries and have huge potential in many other applications, including coatings.

“We go beyond to create entirely new solutions and drive the sustainable transformation across multiple industries. Our leadership, based on systems thinking and a shared vision with our customers, has made this scalable action possible,” said Christian Kullmann, CEO of Evonik.

Evonik has been leading the development of industrial-scale biosurfactants with its IP-protected, fermentation-based process for rhamnolipid production. Rhamnolipids are made from renewable corn feedstocks using a biotechnological process. This yields a high-performing, non-toxic, biodegradable biosurfactant. Rhamnolipids are increasingly in demand because they provide a sustainable alternative to surfactants based on fossil sources or tropical oils.


Focus on Sustainability: The power of collaboration – Uniting for sustainable success

By 2030, Evonik aims to have invested more than €3bn in Next Generation Solutions – products with superior sustainability benefits. One example is the biosurfactant technology platform that Evonik is building to serve diverse industries.

Evonik’s expertise in biotechnology is spearheaded by its life sciences division, Nutrition & Care. Driven by sustainability, the division is using innovative biosolutions to address the challenges of biocircular care through closed-loop carbon systems, while maintaining high functionality and preserving biodiversity. In addition to biosurfactants, Nutrition & Care’s biosolutions include biotech actives, cell culture solutions and nucleic acid-based medicines.

The new facility is based at Evonik Fermas, the company’s site in Slovenská Ľupča, Slovakia. Biotechnology capabilities at the site  have been built up over many decades, making it the logical choice for the first industrial-scale rhamnolipid production facility. This reinforces the position of Evonik Fermas as a biotechnology scale-up and launch platform for Evonik.

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