Biobased Surfactants: Overview and Recent Trends
Hayes, D. G.  2019.  American Oil Chemists' Society China Section Conference, Guangzhou, China, 9-10 November, 2019.  (invited)

Surfactants and detergents are major products in today’s world (36.5 billion USD / 20.9 million metric tons), being employed in laundry and personal care products, pharmaceuticals, foods, paints and coatings, and other industries. Biobased surfactants, i.e., surfactants derived mainly from renewable resources, are receiving increased attention, accounting for 27.5% of the overall surfactants market, with the greatest growth occurring in Asia. One of the major trends causing the growth is the increased interest in sustainability by consumers and manufacturers. I will provide an overview of biobased surfactants and discuss several aspects pertaining to their sustainability. I will also discuss feedstocks for biobased surfactants. Although palm kernel and coconut oils dominate the market sector for lauric acyl donors used in industrial biobased surfactants, algal oils are an emerging competitor. In addition, several feedstocks for the hydrophilic component of the surfactants are increasing being derived from renewable resources, such as glycerol, amino acids, sugars and their derivatives. Finally, I will give several examples of currently used biobased surfactants as well as recent developments in the synthesis and development.