UK biotech start-up Holiferm is planning to open its first commercial biosurfactant plant next year, the company announced on 6 May.

Holiferm produces biosurfactants from renewable feedstocks, which are biodegradable, and available in high and low foaming versions.

The company’s sophorolipid production process is based on natural yeast fermentation, using vegetable oil and glucose as raw materials, according to its website.

Holiferm said its aim was to develop and supply sustainable, non-fossil based, fermentation-derived ingredients for industrial and consumer products.

Made using yeast from a Canadian honey bee hive, Holiferm said its sophorolipid had been shown to be an effective and biodegradable non-toxic surfactant.

In April, Holiferm successfully completed the installation and first run of its pilot bioreactor in Daresbury, which produced hundreds of kilograms of sophorolipid product.

The 25 tonnes/year pilot sophorolipid plant meant it could now provide product for its smaller commercial partners while giving samples to its larger partners to test in their own pilot facilities, the company said.

Holiferm said it was currently fundraising for its planned commercial 1,000 tonnes/year production facility, which would provide its larger commercial partners with sufficient quantities of sophorolipids for their product formulations.