Use of IB in Biosurfactants

A BIO-TIC business case workshop about the uptake of industrial biotechnology in biosurfactants, 3 September 2014 at Westin Grand Hotel, Berlin, Germany


Biobased surfactants can be produced either from oils and fats via oleochemical production or from sugars, e.g. molasses by fermentation. Biobased surfactants can be used for a wide range of applications, the largest of which are currently detergents, followed by personal care products and industrial and institutional cleaners.

While biosurfactants only represent a small share of the global surfactants market at present, a series of leading producers have entered the market and currently investing in product development. The biobased surfactants market is very concentrated with the top five producers accounting for almost 90% of the total market. The EU has an established biosurfactants market, with an estimated demand of 679 MEUR in 2013 corresponding to half of the global demand. The BIO-TIC project estimates that in 2030 the biobased surfactants market in Europe could have a market value of between 0.8 MEUR and 1.8 BEUR. The market value could be greater than this if the various hurdles to biosurfactants are addressed.

The BIO-TIC project has organised this workshop with the aim to identify technological, non-technological and market hurdles for the uptake of industrial biotechnology in bio-surfactants and develop recommendations and solutions to overcome the identified hurdles. It will also:

  • bring together industrial biotechnology end users (downstream) with technology providers (upstream), innovation agencies and decision makers to stimulate interconnected discussion and knowledge exchange platforms and processes,
  • and collect data to develop draft indicators to measure the socio-economic and environmental impact of IB and the use of renewables-based products in the European Union.

Input from market, policy and technological experts is crucial to help us develop recommendations which best answer the needs of industry and further build on the roadmaps.

Download the workshop flyer.

To help kick off the discussions and in order to collect stakeholders' thoughts on the hurdles within this sector and ideas for possible solutions, BIO-TIC has put together a summary of the findings related to biosurfactants at the mid-way stage of the project. You may download the summary here.

The BIO-TIC project

BIO-TIC is a three year project, funded by the European Commission, aiming to identify the hurdles to Industrial Biotechnology (IB) and to develop solutions to overcome them, thereby unlocking the massive potential for this key technology in Europe.

The project focuses on five product groups which have significant potential for Europe and which have the potential to introduce cross cutting technology ideas. These product groups are:

  • Bio-based chemical building blocks
  • Bio-based plastics (PHA and PLA)
  • Biosurfactants
  • Advanced biofuels
  • CO2 based chemicals

Roadmaps for developing the IB sector in Europe, with a special focus on the opportunities above, will be delivered by summer 2015. We are developing three in depth bio-roadmaps focussing on market potential, R&D priorities and non-technological (regulatory and policy) hurdles to IB innovation. The market roadmap will provide market projections to 2030. The technological roadmap will focus on setting R&D priorities and identifying needs for pilot and demonstration activities and the non-technological issues roadmap will identify the regulatory and non-technological hurdles that may inhibit IB innovation from new markets.

BIO-TIC is your gateway to Industrial Biotechnology

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