A TEESSIDE-based university spin out company has agreed a deal with one of the world’s largest speciality chemical and coatings companies to develop greener, cleaner and safer surfactants for use in detergents and soaps.

Multi-national chemical and coatings giant Akzo Nobel is expected to make a seven figure investment in developing and scaling up Wilton Centre-based Green Lizard Technologies’ patented process to make surfactants from plants rather than from oil.

The agreement with Akzo Nobel Specialty Chemicals, which Green Lizard Technologies won in competition with 20 other start up technology companies from across Europe, will result in new research and development jobs at Green Lizard Technologies’ Wilton Centre base, and brings much closer the prospect of a full scale production plant at the site, which is expected to employ more than 30 people.

“This is a massive stamp of approval in our technology from one of the world’s largest chemical companies,” said Green Lizard Technologies Project Leader Fergal Coleman.

“It will really speed up the market development and commercialisation of one aspect of our technology, with Akzo Nobel being in a strong position to take the majority of product from our proposed production plant.

“At present nearly all surfactants used in soaps and detergents are ultimately derived from oil. Working with Akzo Nobel means that our dream of replacing these with cheaper greener biosurfactants has moved many steps closer.”