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Evonik Operations, Cologne, Germany

Surfactants are ubiquitous materials in many consumer products, controlling surface tension for cleaning, washing, personal care and diverse other applications. In the last century surfactants underwent a lot of change. Soap, already known since ancient times was replaced by synthetic surfactants. Still, one must keep in mind that before World War II some main carbon sources for surfactants were whale oil and beef tallow, both from animal sources. Then the switch went to crude oil based raw materials and, in the 80´s to palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and other plant-based oils starting to take over as key raw materials for the surfactant production.


This was a fairly steady situation for about 3 decades but now the drive for change comes again and that makes us put together this written panel discussion with contributions from several major surfactant suppliers who give you their current opinions and trend perspectives in a condensed overview. If you stroll through all the contributions, you realize that this collection from all over the world is more focused on sustainability than ever before. The surfactant industry was engaged in finding biodeg ...