Surfactants are used in abundance in the cosmetics industry as conditioning, cleansing and emulsifying agents, as well as in a number of other consumer products.
After use, however, surfactants often end up in the environment. Consequently, GreenCentre says there is a need to enhance the sustainability of this $24 billion market through the design and commercialization of surfactants with increased efficiency, biodegradability, and little to no eco-toxicity.
The Gemini Surfactant Technology is a concept developed by Dr Gerrard Marangoni, a professor of chemistry at St. Francis Xavier University, and Dr Bruce Grindley from Dalhousie University.
Gemini Surfactants are so-called because their molecular structure is double-ended making them much more versatile and effective in smaller amounts than traditional surfactants.
In September 2010, GreenCentre in-licensed the technology from St. Francis Xavier and with a hands-on approach to commercialization, expanded the range of possible markets, ran industry-standard tests to better understand benefits, evaluated cost and manufacturability, and demonstrated their competitive cost attributes.
Tried and tested
“Testing showed that even at significantly lower amounts, these surfactants perform as well as existing surfactants at larger loadings, as well as having a wide range of properties,” says GreenCentre.
“Smaller amount of surfactant means reduced production and shipping costs and a smaller environmental footprint. These greener surfactants also improve the toxicity profile of the processes they underpin and can be biodegradable.”
RAN chemicals has signed an exclusive license with RAN Chemicals to commercialize this technology.
The company is a sister concern of RSA Industries, and will formulate and manufacture the surfactants for several different market applications and sell them to other industries for use in a wide range of consumer products.