Evonik wins European Chemical Industry Council's Responsible Care Award for a sustainable glycolipid biosurfactants platform, an industrial-scale process for biodegradable rhamnolipid biosurfactants

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January 11, 2024 (press release) –

Dr. Lisa Maus, Director Strategy of Evonik Care Solutions (left) & Yann d'Hervé, Head of Evonik Care Solutions (right)

Jana Flommersfeld
Head of Market Communications
Care Solutions
Dr. Jürgen Krauter
Head of Market Communications
  • First company to develop an IP-protected, industrial-scale, biotechnological process for biodegradable, highly pure rhamnolipid biosurfactants
  • Strong partnerships for innovation and co-creation of glycolipid technology
  • Winner in “Safe and Sustainable Chemicals” category

Evonik has received the Responsible Care® Award of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) for its sustainable biosurfactants platform. As the winner in the “Safe and Sustainable Chemicals” category, Evonik was recognized for its innovative glycolipid technology and strong partnership examples. Evonik has an established portfolio of glycolipid biosurfactants and is the first company to meet the increasing market demand for commercial quantities of sustainable, high-performance rhamnolipid biosurfactants.

“Sustainability drives us, and innovation inspires us! Winning this award is clear confirmation that our biosolutions are driving the revolution toward sustainable chemicals,” said Johann-Caspar Gammelin, president of Evonik’s Nutrition & Care division.

Evonik’s glycolipid biosurfactants have been developed using its biotechnology platform, which is an integral part of the company’s life sciences division Nutrition & Care. The division is using innovative biosolutions to drive a revolution in cleaning and beyond by closing carbon loops using biogenic carbon as a raw material and ensuring the biodegradability of end products.

“Together with our partners, we are changing the game for consumers and bringing sustainability into everyday products,” said Yann d'Hervé, head of Evonik's Care Solutions business line.

Evonik was the first company to develop an IP-protected biotechnological process to produce rhamnolipid biosurfactants at commercial scale. In 2022, Evonik announced a triple-digit million-euro investment in a commercial-scale biosurfactant plant in Slovakia. There is strong market demand for biosurfactants and a rapid transition to these sustainable surfactants is underway. However, until recently, the commercial production of biosurfactants has been very challenging due to low yields in production processes and high recovery and purification costs.

Evonik’s sophorolipid and rhamnolipid biosurfactants are eco-friendly glycolipids that are commercially derived through a bio-fermentation process with a low carbon footprint, using a responsibly sourced and 100 percent renewable feedstock. In addition to their strong sustainability profile, Evonik’s glycolipids have foaming, cleansing, and solubilizing properties that make them highly suitable for personal care applications such as shampoo and shower gel, and home care applications such as hand dishwashing, hard surface cleaning and laundry applications. Further areas of application for biosurfactants are currently being evaluated.

Founded in 1972, Cefic is the European Chemical Industry Council and is the voice of chemical companies across Europe. Since 2005, the European Responsible Care® Award has recognized the chemical industry’s work to improve safe chemicals management and achieve performance excellence.


Further Information

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €18.5 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.49 billion in 2022. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable, and sustainable solutions for customers. About 34,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life today and tomorrow.

The focus of the business of the Nutrition & Care division is on health and quality of life. It develops differentiated solutions for active pharmaceutical ingredients, medical devices, nutrition for humans and animals, personal care, cosmetics, and household cleaning. In these resilient end markets, the division generated sales of €4.24 billion in 2022 with about 5,700 employees.  

In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.

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