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Methyl ester ethoxylates – An approach to use renewable raw materials

*Corresponding author
Kolb Distribution Ltd. Maienbrunnenstrasse 1 Hedingen, CH-8908, Switzerland


Today’s consumers’ expectations for a detergent are diverse. On one hand the purchasing price, and on the other hand excellent washing performance at low temperatures based on renewable raw materials and environmentally friendly production processes. Within this context we carried out a study focusing on the synthetic use of renewable Fatty Acid Methyl Esters and the properties and applications of the final products, namely Methyl Ester Ethoxylates.


Renewable surfactants are a hot topic in modern formulations of liquid detergents thanks to their biodegradability, low ecotoxicity and favourable carbon footprint. Latest developments are high concentrated liquid laundry detergents, whose main components are anionic and non-ionic surfactants. Among the non-ionic surfactants AE7 is the most common workhorse. These alkyl ethoxylates are either derived from fatty alcohols (oleo chemical based) or synthetic alcohols (petrochemical based). Our approach to help preserving natural fossil raw materials was initiated by the launch of our Greenbentin™ product line, whose products are based on at least 30 w/w % of renewable raw materials. In this regard we carried out a study focusing on the synthetic use of renewable Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME), which develop very early during the refinement process. Methyl Ester Ethoxylates (MEE) have been known for approximately 20 years. MEEs consist of three structural moieties, namely the fatty acid part, the PEG-chain, and the methyl end-group. Hence MEEs can be synthesized by four different methods:

  • I. Ethoxylation ...
  • ...

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