From Pilot to Kilotonne - Making Biosurfactants at Scale

Time & Location

Thursday: 10.15 to 10.30, Stage 5


Glen McCaughertySenior Sales Manager Holiferm

About this presentation

The journey from small-scale university spin-out to an SME with manufacturing and research and development facilities is a rocky road, especially when you want to develop at speed and challenge the status quo that has prevailed within the industry for so long. Holiferm is a biotech company based in the Northwest of England. We are pioneering the manufacture of a class of chemical substances called biosurfactants. From this group the sophorolipid was selected as the most promising product. Between 2018 and 2023 the team worked to scale up their manufacturing process starting with a kilogram scale lab, before progressing to a tonne scale pilot plant, and finally opening a 1.1kta manufacturing facility. The innovative manufacturing process developed by the company is based around a fermentation process with integrated gravity separation technology. Using natural, locally sourced feedstocks and a non-GM organism, the process involves no toxic solvents and produces around 50% less CO2 per tonne of product than other surfactants. The end product is biodegradable, non-toxic and ultra mild on skin. It is suitable for use in a range of applications such as cosmetics, personal care, cleaning products, paints and agrochemicals. In his talk Tom Lester, Sales Account Manager for Holiferm, will detail the journey Holiferm has gone on over the last five years from working at a University lab bench, to distributing product to customers across five different continents.