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Conductivity system optimises production of biosurfactants

Holiferm opens commercial plant after successful pilot

Endress+Hauser has supported Holiferm from the laboratory phase into full production of its sustainable alternative to petrochemical surfactants. A conductivity system was selected to measure the phase separation part of the process automatically, reducing the maintenance burden and making it easy to handle the resulting data. Thanks to its success in the pilot phase, the measurement system will be used for the same application in Holiferm’s new commercial plant.

Image of Holiferm's pilot plant

Holiferm's pilot plant producing sustainable biosurfactants

Picture of Holiferm's downstream wash tanks

Holiferm's downstream wash tanks

The benefits

  • Smoother operation of the process.

  • Less dependency on individual operators.

  • The automated system ensures that only the desired product is taken through to the next stage of the process after

  • Expertise shared by Endress+Hauser right from the start of the project.

Picture of Connor Makin, Downstream Process Engineer, Holiferm

“We were given a neat solution and good advice on how to integrate it into the process.”

Connor Makin, Downstream Process Engineer

The challenge

Holiferm was founded to meet demand for sustainable alternatives to petrochemical surfactants, which are used in household cleaning, laundry and personal care applications. The big challenge was to make the final product competitive on cost with traditional surfactants, particularly when producing in bulk. First in a lab and then in a pilot plant, the company developed a semi-continuous production process to replace the more expensive batch production method more commonly used.

The solution

Endress+Hauser was chosen to supply conductivity sensors to measure the phase separation automatically. The Memosens CLS82E sensor and the Liquiline CM442 transmitter were chosen because of their ease of use and scalability.

Memosens sensors store process data directly in the sensor head, meaning calibration or adjustments can be carried out in an optimal laboratory environment rather than in the field. The probes can be swapped out quickly and easily without interrupting the process.

Uninterrupted process

“Because we're operating with live cultures it would cause an issue with sterilisation if we needed to take the probe out during the continuous process. Therefore, it is key to be able to switch the probes between batch runs quickly, easily and with reliability of accurate readings when restarting,” says Connor Makin, Holiferm’s Downstream Process Engineer.