New jobs created at 90,000 sq ft Wirral facility

More than 20 jobs are being created in Wirral as biotech venture Holiferm opens 90,000 sq ft production facility. Tony McDonough reports

From left, Mayor of Wirral Jeff Green with Richard Lock and Ben Dolman of Holiferm


A biotech firm specialising in ingredients for detergents has opened a new 90,000 sq ft production facility in Wallasey employing 40 staff.

And Holiferm says more than 20 of the jobs will be new with the rest of the plant staffed by its existing employees. The firm says more jobs will be created as the facility is scaled up.

Holiferm is a University of Manchester biotech spin-out based at Sci-Tech Daresbury. It develops environmentally friendly biosurfactants. They are used in the manufacture of detergents and toiletries.

Opening the new facility will allow the business to produce 1,100 tonnes of biosurfactants annually for its growing client list of multinationals. They include Ingretech and Azelis, and independents such as MixCleanGreen.

Surfactants are a key ingredient in the manufacture of detergents and personal care products. However, current mainstream goods primarily use petrochemical and tropical oil-based surfactants, which cause harm to the environment.

While environmentally-friendly products in this sector do exist, they use a costly yeast-based batch fermentation process.

Holiferm has developed an approach which allows this yeast-based approach to be carried out as a semi-continuous process, allowing the delivery of green products to the mass market at a competitive price point.

From 2024, the plant will also produce rhamnolipids and MELs, with Holiferm looking to increase production capacity to at least 3,000 tonnes. Holiferm is also set to launch new biosurfactant products and is working in collaboration with BASF.

Richard Lock, managing director of Holiferm, said: “We’re anticipating our customers will have a bigger need for our services as it becomes increasingly important for products to be more sustainable and produced in greener ways and important for end users too. 

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“The process we’re designing allows us to produce biosurfactants with less energy and less CO2 and in a much more sustainable way, as we can produce in a continuous manufacturing process rather than a batch process.

“We’re trying to redefine what chemical manufacturing means. There’s a great misconception that it must entail huge power stations and industrial plants, but we use a process that is completely green.

Holiferm’s presence at Sci-Tech Daresbury and the new manufacturing plant in Wallasey was supported by a £400,000 grant from the Inward Investment Facilitation Fund (I2F2) set up as part of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s £75m Business Growth Package.

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