Need biosurfactants will continue rise

Need for biosurfactants will continue to rise

4:30 AM, 8th April 2019
Dustin Nelson, Marketing & Sales, AGAE Technologies LLC
Dustin Nelson, Marketing & Sales, AGAE Technologies LLC.

In an interview, Dustin Nelson, Marketing & Sales, AGAE Technologies LLC with Chemical Today Magazine mentions the trends in the surfactants industry and how pricing continues to be a challenge for the environment friendly surfactants market.

By Shivani Mody

Trends making a difference for the surfactants industry.

As people become more conscience about what they put into their bodies, they are also becoming more aware of what they are putting out into the environment. This is especially true for home cleaners, where traditional cleaners such as bleach and SLS are being replaced with much “greener” biosurfactants, including rhamnolipids.

Many governments are more focused on environmentally friendly clean up options of land that have been contaminated with heavy metals, crude oils and other hazardous materials. This has shifted their attention to rhamnolipids as a safe, efficient and best option of clean up creating a large market opening, which only seems to be growing as proven real-world results on a large scale continue to be seen.

Growth potential regarding Rhamnolipids biosurfactants.

Rhamnolipids are members of the glycolipid biosurfactants and were discovered and first identified from Pseudomonas sp. in 1949 (Jarvis 1949). Since then, numerous producing microorganisms including bacteria, fungi and yeast have been reported to produce rhamnolipids. Pseudomonas aeruginosa species of soil bacteria have been identified as the most frequently isolated rhamnolipid producers (Nie, Yin et al. 2010).

There is an increase in demand throughout the globe as real-life application of rhamnolipids have been used in large scale bioremediation projects. The results of these projects are proving the research and small-scale lab testing results are accurate.

Rhamnolipids demand in developed versus emerging markets.

With rhamnolipids still being relatively new, the interest is definitely there. However, with the price still being higher than synthetic surfactants the emerging markets are much slower to develop as companies try to find that balance of cost versus profit. Developed markets such as bioremediation and enhanced oil recovery, which has already seen proven large-scale results using rhamnolipids seem to be more eager and willing to accept higher upfront costs to get a product proven to provide superior results and lower downstream overhead.

Company’s growth prospects and R&D for biosurfactants.

As a company policy we only speak to AGAE’s growth and development and not to the overall market and other competitors. AGAE has seen a massive influx of interest in rhamnolipids in the oil industry for use in EOR, soil bioremediation and other areas. The future for AGAE’s growth and development looks incredibly strong. AGAE has an extensive in-house catalogue of formulations for a variety of fields. We have developed these over the years as our R&D efforts and abilities progressed.

Plans to meet increased customer demands.

AGAE Technologies can meet the current demands. Also, as the market continues to develop and demand grows, we do not envision any issues with meeting the needs of our customers. We have already begun a large scale up in production capabilities to meet the current demand and with a vision toward the future. This should be completely finalized by the end of 2019.

Challenges in the biosurfactants market.

Pricing. Despite the progress made by AGAE Technologies, the price per kilogram of a biosurfactant such as rhamnolipids will never be able to match the price of a synthetic surfactant. However, with a higher initial cost of the rhamnolipids there are added benefits. In the oil industry there is little R&D needed prior to full scale use of rhamnolipids, making it readymade market. However, in other markets, such as cosmetics much more research and testing must be done prior to full scale development of a product. This has slowed the overall process down in that market, but as the demand for less synthetic and petroleum-based ingredients grows the need for biosurfactants will continue to rise.

International regulations impact for biosurfactants industry.

The EPA has complete sets of documents about human and environmental safety of rhamnolipids. Compare to chemical, petroleum and synthetic derived surfactants, rhamnolipids have unrivalled advantages with respect of broad industrial applications. Due to its safe, low or nontoxic nature, there are easy regulatory approvals for international transportation.

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