InterviewAir Products rolls out natural surfactants

01 February 2008 15:57  [Source: ICIS news]

BOCA RATON, Florida (ICIS news)--Air Products has entered the bio-based surfactants market for the first time with its new lauric oil-based alcohol ethoxylates (AEs), a company official said on Friday.


The company’s palm oil/coconut oil based Tomadol surfactants would give customers flexibility by offering both natural-based alcohol ethoxylates and synthetic ethoxylates for use in industrial and institutional cleaning (I&I), said Russ King, Air Products’ marketing manager of performance solutions.


“Over the past couple of decades, the raw material costs of both natural-based and synthetic-based products have come up and down and crisscrossed each other,” King told ICIS news on the sidelines of the annual Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) meeting here.


“Now our customers can have the option of going to just one supplier if they need bio-based materials as well as replacing nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) in their formulation.”


Air Products started offering NPE replacements with AEs more than two years ago when they acquired US surfactant producer Tomah. NPEs were increasingly coming under scrutiny because of biodegradability issues, said King.


“I&I cleaning manufacturers are increasingly moving towards more environment-friendly products as they try to comply with more emerging legislations and regulatory programmes,” he said.


“A lot of their customers have state municipal contracts where they require third party certifications such as GreenSeal or be listed under programs such as CleanGredients or the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment (DfE), to prove their products are under what they considered as environment preferred products,” King added.


Air Products said they were also working to develop natural-based ether amines, which are cationic surfactants that are also used in I&I cleaning products.


The company’s surfactants business had grown substantially at well over 10% since it acquired Tomah, he said.


The 5-day SDA meeting ends on Saturday.

By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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