Holiferm to build commercial biosurfactant plant
University of Manchester spin-out Holiferm is to build a commercial-scale biosurfactants plant at Wallasey, UK, after receiving an investment of $7 million in a financing round
University of Manchester spin-out Holiferm is to build a commercial-scale biosurfactants plant at Wallasey, UK, after receiving an investment of $7 million in a financing round led by Rhapsody Venture Partners of the US. This follows the establishment of a pilot plant at nearby Sci-Tech Daresbury earlier this year.
The new plant will produce 1,100 tonnes/year of biosurfactants, focusing initially on phosphorolipids. Holiferm already produces these for customers including MixCleanGreen, Starbrands, Azelis and Eurosyn. The company is also working in collaboration with BASF on the next two molecules in its pipeline.
Holiferm has developed a process to make biosurfactants out semi-continuously, such that they can be made at a price competitive to standard surfactants. The products of common yeast-based batch fermentation processes typically cost five times more to make, according to managing director Richard Lock.
“We’re trying to redefine what chemical manufacturing means,” Lock said. “There’s a great misconception that it has to entail huge power stations and industrial plants, but we use a process that is completely green. We are working with a molecule that has been designed not by humans, but by nature.”