chain,” observed Juncosa. In September, the company started up
a pilot plant in Okeechobee, FL, and production will expand this
year. Juncosa expects to start making products in 2014 and he
predicted that detergent makers’ interest in the LS9 will grow as
they learn how the low-cost process reduces green house gas
emissions, pollutant levels and water consumption.
“Our industry faces big challenges,” noted Gabriel Tanbourgi,
president, care chemicals, BASF.“But they are huge opportunities
for us and for you.”
BASF is tackling these challenges with an R&D budget that
exceeded $2.2 billion in 2011. Company researchers worked on
more than 2,000 projects and BASF was ranked No. 1 in the
Patent Asset Index. Tanbourgi predicted that Asia will lead in
R&D spending by 2020. BASF, he noted, already has eight R&D
sites in the region with an innovation center set to open soon in
Singapore. More investments are in the works as BASF expands
production at its Geismar, LA plant in the US and builds a sur-
factant facility in India. These global capabilities enabled BASF
to develop solutions such as Lutropur MSA, a high-purity, bio-
degradable methanesulfonic acid for the I&I market; Trilon M, a
biodegradable chelating agent for detergent and cleaning formu-
las and Glucopon, a range of nonionic surfactants derived from
vegetable oils and starch.
“We work in the B-to-B environment, but we think B-to-C,”
insisted Tanbourgi. “We have deep market knowledge and regional supply of innovative materials.”
Innovation for the Next Generation
As the conference entered its final session, speakers focused their remarks on the future. For example, Hiromitsu Takaoka, Lion’s director
of fabric care, predicted that odor reduction will be the primary goal
of laundry detergents in the future. He noted that clothes just don’t
get all that dirty anymore as consumers throughout the world spend
more time indoors.
“Odor is the target soil in the next generation,”he insisted.
He described the seven types of odor, which include moldy and
musty, sour and sweaty, and explained how Lion researchers used
gas chromatography to identify the medium chain fatty acids and
aldehydes that cause these odor. Using palm oil, Lion chemists developed a methyl ester sulphonate that eliminates these odors better
than alcohol ethoxysulfates or linear alkylbenzene sulfonate. Lion also
developed a methyl ester ethoxylate that removes these odors better
than alcohol ethoxylates, according to Takaoka, noting that other key
laundry ingredients in odor removal are enzymes and chelants.
The automatic dish detergent category is a tremendous growth
opportunity, according to Jürgen Kielholz,VP-R&D, Reckitt Benckiser.
After all, while household penetration of laundry machines is nearly
56%, compared to just 16% for dishwashing machines. Moreover,
while Asia accounts for 60% of the world’s population, it represents
just 10% of the world’s dishwashing machine market. Despite this
relatively low penetration rate, autodish detergent sales have ac-
counted for 46% of household cleaning product growth in recent
years, according to Kielholz. In contrast, laundry detergent sales have
accounted for just 3% of category growth.