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Holiferm opens commercial plant

Holiferm has revealed that the Mayor of Wirral, Jeff Green, opened its first commercial biosurfactant plant at Ocean Park in Wallasey, UK, on 16 February. Present were representatives of the global biosurfactant community, including people from Japan, Thailand, South Africa, Germany, France, Belgium and Australia.

The plant will initially produce about 1,100 tonnes/year of sophorolipids for use in applications including cosmetics, home care, personal care and I&I. It will use Holiferm’s patented fermentation technique using yeast or bacteria to convert vegetable oils and/or sugars into final product, with the integrated gravity separation technology that CEO Ben Dolman developed during his PhD studies at the University of Manchester.

The company had taken over the premises in January 2022, initially intending to be manufacturing products within a year. This was not quite possible due to such issues as rising delivery times and raw materials costs. However, the first product should be ready for the market soon.

Holiferm has also announced plans to launch rhamnolipid and mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs) biosurfactants from the same site in January 2024. These can be used alongside sophorolipids to enable formulators to use 100% biobased formulations. They are currently being readied for pilot-scale production before they go into a full manufacturing process.

The company has also expanded its partnership with Sasol Chemicals to produce and market rhamnolipids and MELs as well as sophorolipids. The two companies will work together to develop and commercialise formulations and applications for the new molecules.

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