Year of Foundation: 2016
Addresses the following SDGs: SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 12 (ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns) and SDG 13 (climate action).
From a university idea to successful business
The story of Sironix started at the University of Minnesota at the chemical engineering department. Here Paul Dauenhauer (co-founder and honorary professor at the university of Minnesota) and Christoph Krumm (CEO and co-founder) met in 2014, while Christoph was working on his PhD on functional properties of oleofurans (OF) at Pauls lab. During this time, first conversations on what could be done to be more environmentally friendly arose. The initial focus was to create better biobased biofuel for the aviation and automotive industry. But the concept shifted when they realized the impact that fast moving consumer goods have on the environment, especially the ingredients that are in those products. One of those ingredients are surfactants, which are used in almost every industry sector from household cleaning products to personal care and even in antifogging liquids. Meaning that they are produced in vast quantities and have an enormous impact on the environment depending. For this reason, Paul and Christoph decided to research in this area and to apply some of the biobased fuels principles for creating high performing and eco-friendly surfactant, named Eosix. In 2015, the first technology concepts and OF surfactant prototypes were developed and tested and in 2016, Sironix was founded.
From plants to Surfactants
But what exactly are surfactants and why are they so important? They are compounds that lower the surface tension between two liquids, between a gas and a liquid, or between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, or dispersants. These properties make them one of the most versatile products of the chemical industry, they are utilized in many different industry sectors from household cleaning products to agriculture and even pharmaceuticals. Eosix surfactants are based on natural raw materials such as coconut oil but the start-up is looking into alternative feedstocks such as soybean oil, since other oils can be a major driver of deforestation. The second main building block of the Eosix surfactants are the furan part which is sourced from agricultural waste products. Yet, what make Eosix surfactants unique is that they outperform conventional surfactants when it comes to cleaning properties. Eosix consists among others of furan and fatty acid derivates, making the performance up to 500 times more efficient in hard water conditions as conventional surfactants. Currently used surfactants are usually formulated with more chemicals to compensate the lack of hardwater tolerance. These added chemicals are not only harming the environment, due to the creation of additional waste but come also with additional costs for the producer and consumer.
The Eosix surfactant allows manufacturers to formulate products that are environmentally friendly, have less ingredients and perform better!
Next up at Sironix
The start-up has great plans for the future, they are currently looking to scale their processes and manufacturing capabilities by collaborating with industry partners such as chemical manufacturers and product brands. Furthermore, Sironix is always working in creating more sustainable formulas. In the future they would like to expand their product pallet into the personal care market. As the start-ups sees a need in improving the ingredients that are being currently use in these products by developing more sustainable, better performing but also milder ingredients for consumers and the environment.