SURFACTANT MARKET UPDATE
“In response to this, we have expanded our facility to enable
the commercial production of RSPO SG (fully segregated) and
RSPO certified fatty alcohols and surfactants,” he said.
Emery launched Emersense, a range of RSPO-certified sodium lauryl ethersulphate with outstanding quality and especially
low dioxane content, to meet increasing demand for lower dioxane levels and sodium laurylsulphate in needles and powder.
Also new is Emerlux OW, a range of specially designed oil-in-water emulsion based systems. In addition to these basic emulsion bases, Emery offers unique and complex emulsion bases for
specific cosmetic and personal care products, which deliver greater performance, economic benefits and sustainability. Ehmerex
EH is a range of fatty acid esters derived from 2-ethylhexanol and
palm-based fatty acids. Both Emerlux OW and Ehmerex EH are
non-irritating, non-sensitizing, non-phototoxic and non-photo
allergenic esters. They deliver a silky and soft skin feel, and are
available in RSPO-certified grade.
All of these moves come at a time when consumers are having a bigger say in what products contain—and what they don’t.
“Customers are looking for other type of surfactants and
not just the traditional ones with differentiated properties and
performance. Awareness of sustainability is also a driver for this
growth,” said Neil Barrientos, global marketing director, home
and personal care, Solvay. “End users are more knowledgeable through media in general (including FaceBook, Twitter and
Google) and the awareness of less aggressive products and more
environmental respect is driving this growth.“
More Moves by Suppliers
In the past year, Solvay has taken a number of actions in the way
of acquisitions, plant expansions and also investments in new
regions, according to Barrientos. In 2014, Solvay acquired ERCA
and Dhaymers in Brazil to expand its production capacity in the
region and build a presence in the skin care market, too.
Solvay also invested in alkoxylation plants in Singapore and
in the US to serve its customers with local production and also to
expand its product portfolio for personal and home care.
“As part of Solvay’s investment plans and also to accompany
our customers’ growth we’ve invested in a multipurpose plant
in Germany and a recent investment in the Netherlands where
Solvay has completed the acquisition of ERCA Emery Surfactant
BV,” he said.
These moves are Solvay Novecare’s latest investment to ex-pand its surfactant footprint.
“They complement the alkoxylation site in Italy and the new
surfactant plant in Germany as well as the new surfactant plant in
Brazil to support our customer’s development plans and further
strengthen our partnerships with them,” explained Barrientos.
Univar recently entered into commercial agreements with
Penford Products and Evonik Personal Care in the northeastern
US. In July, Univar acquired Chemical Associates, a distributor of
oleochemicals, including tall oil fatty acids, oleic acids and stearic
acids. In November, the firm picked up D’Altomare Química, which
expanded its footprint and capabilities in the Brazilian personal
care market. Finally, in the US, Univar added technical specialists
and account executives to the personal care and HI&I teams.
Air Products has undergone a reorganization that will enable
its materials-related businesses to become more responsive to
market needs, according to Fonseca.
During the past year, Colonial Chemical has hired three
chemists and 10 additional personnel for the plant, installed four
more reactors, as well as a finished goods warehouse. Colonial is
counting on the specialty surfactant market, and in particular the
green and mild surfactant market, to continue to be strong both
domestically and internationally, Anderson told Happi.
“LATAM will continue to be an important area of growth for
years to come because it is a growing and sophisticated marketplace, and we are very fortunate to have a technically-able and
skilled partner in Vantage,” he added.
Lubrizol has invested in a state-of-the-art multi-purpose reactor in Brazil to produce a wide range of secondary surfactants
and blends including Chembetaine betaines, Amidex amides and
Chemoxide amine oxides, according to Kaltenbach.
Stepan, too, is betting on Latin America. It completed the purchase of the sulfonation production site in Bahia, Brazil from Procter
& Gamble do Brazil. The facility has 30,000 metric tons of capacity.
According to the firm, this acquisition expands Stepan’s capabilities in Brazil, which is world’s fifth most populous country
and has a growing middle class. As the country’s usage of laundry products transitions from soap bars to powders to liquids,
surfactant use expands. Surfactants used in functional applications, including the large Brazilian agricultural industry, are also
“Brazil is a strategic priority for Stepan. This acquisition is synergistic with our existing Vespasiano, Brazil plant and provides an
opportunity to serve the growing northeast of Brazil,” said Stepan.
The world can be a scary place right now, especially for companies deploying assets. But surfactant suppliers realize in this
increasingly complex, global economy, it’s better to make moves
rather than sit on the sidelines.•
Africa be a
for palm oil?