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A Dutch multinational chemical company is looking for zero-footprint surfactant platforms




A Dutch multinational company serves a large specialty surfactants market. The company wants to build a flexible surfactant technology platform to realize a fully sustainable surfactants business. The platform is envisioned to be both bio-based and biodegradable, and to provide a flexible toolbox from which they can tune surfactants to meet the needs of a wide range of applications.
Cooperation would be in the frame of a research agreement or a technical cooperation agreement.


A Dutch company produces a large range of chemical specialties and serves the €15 billion specialty surfactants market. The company has the ambition to continue to serve the performance demands of these applications in a sustainable manner.

Surfactants are used worldwide on a daily basis, in applications including agriculture, cleaning, personal care, fuels and lubricants, mining and oilfield chemicals, and water treatment. The market is evolving, and with it the customers’ demands as well as their willingness to pay a higher price for more sustainable products.

These developments require a flexible technology platform, a toolbox, from which the company can tune surfactants to meet the needs of a wide range of applications in a sustainable way.
? For the hydrophobic part of surfactants, the company is seeking next generation performance, in order to replace fatty acid sources such as tallow and palm oil with more sustainable options.
? For the hydrophilic part of surfactants, the company is seeking alternatives to the commonly used ethylene oxide-based solutions, which are typically made from fossil sources.
? For the connection between hydrophobe and hydrophile, the company is looking for new chemistries to broaden their portfolio of tailor-made surfactants.

The company is also very interested in new hydrophobes and/or hydrophiles that improve the properties of surfactants, such as foam, cleaning, substantivity, adhesion, emulsification, reduced toxicity, and surface activity.
Lastly, while most of their surfactants are already biodegradable, and most of them are already partly bio-based, not all of them are sustainably sourced; the company needs to develop a flexible platform based on bio-based, biodegradable, sustainable and high performing surfactants.

It should be emphasized that the company is not looking for new process technologies to produce current surfactants, nor are they looking for a nanotechnology approach.

The following criteria should be considered:
? Contribute to sustainability: the solution must be eco-friendly and contribute to the company’s zero footprint vision
? Contribute to the foreseen tunable 3-building block platform by providing a novel hydrophile, hydrophobe, or connecting functionality
? Scalabilty and affordability (long term)
? Fit to the company’s current specialty chemicals technologies & markets
? Quality and maturity of the team

Cooperation with partners would be in the frame of a research cooperation agreement or a technical cooperation agreement.

This technology request is an innovation challenge and is published on an open innovation platform until March 10th 2018. If an organisation does express interest in cooperation with this firm before that date, it will be guided towards this open innovation platform on which one can get in touch via a chat function with the company. Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential.
Beside open discussions on the platform, sharing of confidential information will be made possible on demand. After that, the firm will select the SME's with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of a solution.
Once the challenge is closed, EOI's for this technology request will be treated in the traditional way.

Partner expertise sought:

- Type of partner sought: The ultimate goal is to find a flexible surfactant platform that is fully sustainable. This will be based on three technology building blocks: a hydrophilic component (free of ethylene oxide), a hydrophobic component, and a component which links the two. The hydrophilic and hydrophobic components need to be tuneable for different applications. The platform should be scalable and affordable over the long-term.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: Type of partners: SME’s and other innovators with a focus on the research & development of novel surfactants based on three technology building blocks: a hydrophilic component (free of ethylene oxide), a hydrophobic component, and a component which links the two.
Type of collaboration:
The Dutch multinational wants to work together as equal partners, under shared-IP conditions, this could be in the form of:
? Technical cooperation agreement
? Research agreement
The challenge offers several support awards in the fields of entrepreneurship and/or chemistry



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Industrial Manufacture \ Materials \ Chemistry & Chemical Engineering
INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING, MATERIAL AND TRANSPORT / Materials Technology / Fine Chemicals, Dyes and Inks / OTHER INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES / Chemical Technology and Engineering / Inorganic Substances / OTHER INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES / Chemical Technology and Engineering / Soaps, detergents / PHYSICAL AND EXACT SCIENCES / Chemistry / Inorganic Chemistry / PHYSICAL AND EXACT SCIENCES / Separation Technologies / Other Processes
Manufacture of other inorganic basic chemicals
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS / Chemicals and Materials / Industrial chemicals


Contact Enterprise Europe Network Scotland by email at, quoting reference number trnl20180115002