UK biotech start-up Holiferm plans to scale up its production of biosurfactants after securing US$23.36M (£18.5M) in investments.

Using a fermentation process with integrated gravity separation technology, Holiferm produces low- and high-foaming sophorolipids for surfactant applications including the production of personal care, home care and cosmetic products.

The company’s sophorolipid production process is based on natural yeast fermentation, using rapeseed oil and glucose as raw materials.

The new funding from Rhapsody Venture Partners and Clean Growth Fund would allow the company to install new fermenters at its Wallasey plant in Liverpool and increase production from 1,100 tonnes/year to 3,500 tonnes/year by the end of the year, and then upscale to 15,000 tonnes/year, Holiferm said on 11 December.

The investment would enable full market launches by major multinational customers, the company said.

In addition, the funding would help boost work being conducted at its research and development facility in Manchester while helping the company refine manufacturing methods for other biosurfactants.

Holiferm grew from a small spin-off from research work conducted at the University of Manchester to become a producer and supplier of sophorolipids used to produce sustainable cleaning products worldwide.