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Fatty Alcohols and Tertiary Amines 


Oleochemicals such as fatty alcohols, fatty acids, glycerin, amines, and surfactants form the mainstay of Kao's varied business activities. Because they are made from natural, renewable fats and oils, these materials are also important for building a sustainable society.

Fatty alcohols are among the main materials used for manufacturing surfactants. We manufacture fatty alcohols using many proprietary catalysts that we have developed ourselves. These catalysts are created using various kinds of electron microscopes, surface analyzers, crystalline structure analyzers, and other forms of advanced equipment. These are deployed in joint research projects conducted with universities, research institutes, and catalyst manufacturers, both in Japan and abroad.

Many surfactants are made from fatty alcohols, and they are made in various ways. One example is the technology for manufacturing tertiary amines, which is also based on our proprietary catalyst technology. By introducing dimethylamine into fatty alcohol in the presence of such a catalyst, we can derive tertiary amines very quickly and selectively. The derived tertiary amines are used as basic ingredients in hair conditioners, dishwashing detergents, disinfectants, and many other household products.

In this way, the oleochemicals that command such an important position in our business operations are supported by our own catalyst development technologies. This allows us to deliver unmatched, highly competitive products to the world market.

Highly dispersed metal particles on alcohol production catalyst (TEM image)


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