Betulin – Biobased surfactants – step 1

In short, the Betulin project involves the production of innovative bio-based surfactants from by-products from the forest and pulp industry in Sweden. Surfactants reduce the surface tension between two immiscible phases, or one phase in another phase, and are used in products and applications where increased solubility is required. The global surfactant market accounted for $42.1 billion in 2020, and the development in the end-user industries such as household detergents, personal care, food, and others boosts the growth of the market. Market demands more environmentally friendly surfactant from biobased resources.

Betulin is found in large amount up to 20–35% of dry outer bark weight of birch and can be used as the hydrophobic head backbone for introducing amphipathic compounds with hydrophilic side chains. Nevertheless, its utilization on the bio-surfactant production has not been reported. In the project, therefore, it will be used as a promising hydrophobic head for producing new bio-surfactants, based on our inventions filed as US provisional patent.

New natural-sourced non-ionic surfactants will be prepared and applied on the cosmetic and personal care products as model applications. The resulting biobased surfactants will be beneficial to consumers, environment, and related industries such as surfactant, cosmetic, food and biomedical industry with great commercialization potential on biobased economy, alternative to existing hazard materials, and use of abundant by-product from forest and pulp industry.


Betensid AB, Rentus AB and Lund University.