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Renewable surfactant can replace solvents for cleaning

By Scott Jenkins |

A nonionic surfactant that is derived from renewable chemicals can outperform common solvents in a range of applications, including industrial cleaning, adhesive removal, degreasing, paint and coating removal, and others. The molecule (N,N-dimethyl-9-decenamide), marketed as Steposol MET-10U, is the first result of a joint development agreement between Stepan Co. (Northfield, Ill.; www.stepan.com) and Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc. (Woodridge, Ill.; www.elevance.com). The product was launched last month and is now available globally. The starting material for the surfactant product is plant-based 9-decenoic ester, and is made using proprietary metathesis technology developed by Elevance. The renewable starting material is then modified on its hydrophilic end by Stepan to make the amide surfactant. As a hard-surface cleaner, a 5% aqueous solution of Steposol MET-10U performs as well as full strength (100%) samples of high-VOC solvents, such as methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone, and better than alternative “green” solvents like d-limonene, explains Robert Slone, vice president of surfactant product development at Stepan. For example, Steposol MET-10U’s Kauri-Butanol value (a standardized measure of solvent…
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