Company initiatives, Feedstock, Oleochemical, Partnership, Press Release, Products

Solazyme partners with BASF in algae-derived surfactant

Solazyme has been churning a lot of news in the past month but let’s start with this intriguing partnership with BASF. The companies have launched a microalgae oil-based betaine surfactant for use in home and personal care applications.

I am not that familiar with betaines (a kind of amphoteric surfactant) but I’m assuming these are more specialized, high-value surfactants where the use of algae oil will not require that much volume. From what I read on various googled websites, betaines are considered secondary surfactants that improves or boost primary surfactants such as ethoxylates/sulfates etc. If anybody wants to learn more about surfactants, you should contact the surfactant guru, Neil Burns of Neil A. Burns LLC. He co-produces various surfactants conferences with ICIS and one in Europe is coming along in September (see the blog’s media partnerships and events page).

Betaines formulaAnyway, it seems the amphoteric surfactants market occupies less than 10% of the global surfactants production and applications is really mostly for personal care. Some betaines are already using vegetable oil-based fatty acids such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil. According to BASF and Solazyme, their betaines, marketed under the trade name Dehyton AO 45, will be the first commercial surfactant derived from microalgae oil produced by Solazyme under the tradename AlgaPur Microalgae Oils.

The new algal betaine is being marketed as a high-performance alternative to amidopropyl betaine in products that require rich and gentle foam such as shampoos, liquid soaps, hand dishwashing liquids, and other applications. Amidopropyl betaines are increasingly being used in cosmetic, toiletry and home care applications due to benefits such as good detergency, good foam properties and foam stabilization, hard water compatibility, mildness to skin and hair, ability to reduce irritation of anionic systems, viscosity building, conditioning effect, stability at a broad range of pH, and excellent biodegradability.

In June, Solazyme has also announced a sales agreement of its microalgae oil to Natural Cosmetics S.A., one of Latin America’s largest cosmetics and personal care products company.  After completing testing and product validation phases over the past year using Solazyme’s algal oil, Natura is purchasing Solazyme’s high-performance AlgaPur Microalgae Oil for its use in several product lines.

By the way, Solazyme has already been marketing anti-aging cosmetics products using algae oil for its Algenist brand, which, according to the company’s recent earnings report, has been now distributed in more than 2,500 stores in 22 countries and has reached 37 SKUs.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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