In a statement, Croda called the new facility "the first plant of its kind in North America." It will use "ethylene oxide derived from bioethanol" to manufacture "100-percent renewable non-ionic surfactants -- active emulsifying agents that help keep oil and water together -- which are used in a range of products from face creams to toothpaste to paint to laundry detergent" and sold to their manufacturers.

The company collected a $2 million Delaware Strategic Fund grant, plus around $900,000 in additional state funds for employee training.

Croda, founded in 1925 to process wool fat (lanolin) from the sheep country of Yorkshire in northern England,  is now one of the biggest industrial companies in Britain, where it forms part of the benchmark Financial Times FTSE 100 index.