Rhamnolipid plant opening ceremony

Press release
May 29, 2024

Evonik drives sustainable biosurfactant revolution with inauguration of new facility in Slovakia

  • First facility worldwide to manufacture industrial-scale rhamnolipid biosurfactants 
  • Huge potential in personal care, cleaning, coatings, animal nutrition, agriculture, and many other applications 
  • Portfolio transformation to biosolutions

Essen, Germany. Evonik has officially inaugurated its new sustainable biosurfactant plant together with key customers in Slovakia. The triple-digit million-euro facility is the first worldwide to manufacture industrial-scale quantities of rhamnolipid biosurfactants. These exceptionally high-quality, sustainable biosurfactants are already transforming the cleaning, beauty and personal care industries and have huge potential in many other applications.  

“We go beyond to create entirely new solutions and drive the sustainable transformation across multiple industries. Our leadership, based on systems thinking and a shared vision with our customers, has made this scalable action possible,” said Christian Kullmann, CEO of Evonik. 

Evonik has been leading the development of industrial-scale biosurfactants with its IP-protected, fermentation-based process for rhamnolipid production. Rhamnolipids are made from renewable corn feedstocks using a biotechnological process. This yields a high-performing, non-toxic, biodegradable biosurfactant. Rhamnolipids are increasingly in demand because they provide a sustainable alternative to surfactants based on fossil sources or tropical oils. 

By 2030, Evonik aims to have invested more than €3 billion in Next Generation Solutions – products with superior sustainability benefits. One example is the biosurfactant technology platform that Evonik is building to serve diverse industries.   

Evonik’s expertise in biotechnology is spearheaded by its life sciences division, Nutrition & Care. Driven by sustainability, the division is using innovative biosolutions to address the challenges of biocircular care through closed-loop carbon systems, while maintaining high functionality and preserving biodiversity. In addition to biosurfactants, Nutrition & Care’s biosolutions include biotech actives, cell culture solutions and nucleic acid-based medicines.  

The new facility is based at Evonik Fermas, the company’s site in Slovenská Ľupča, Slovakia. Biotechnology capabilities at the site  have been built up over many decades, making it the logical choice for the first industrial-scale rhamnolipid production facility. This reinforces the position of Evonik Fermas as a biotechnology scale-up and launch platform for Evonik. 


Rhamnolipid plant opening ceremony, from left: Yann d'Hervé; Head of Care Solutions Business Line - Nicole Rudningen; Head of Production and Technology, Care Solutions Business Line - Harald Schwager Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Evonik Industries AG - Christian Kullmann; CEO, Evonik Industries AG - Peter Bakker President & CEO World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) - Barbara Wolf Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Slovak Republic - Johann-Caspar Gammelin Member of the Executive Board | President Nutrition & Care - Miroslav Havlík, General Manager, Evonik Fermas s.r.o.

Company information 

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €15.3 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €1.66 billion in 2023. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable, and sustainable solutions for customers. More than 33,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life today and tomorrow.


In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.