Product overview

What are NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates? 

NEODOL alcohols are high purity, high linearity primary alcohols that typically contain 75-85% by weight normal alcohols. They contain both even and odd numbered carbon chains, offering excellent product qualities for various applications.

NEODOL alcohols are manufactured using the Shell hydroformylation (SHF) process from olefins produced from ethylene using the Shell Higher Olefins Process (SHOP). The alcohols are then reacted with ethylene oxide to produce NEODOL ethoxylates.

Shell chemicals companies offer a wide variety of alcohols and ethoxylates. The principal alcohol grades are NEODOL 91 (C9-C11 alcohols), NEODOL 23 (C12-13 alcohols), NEODOL 25 (C12-15 alcohols), NEODOL 45 (C14-15 alcohols), NEODOL 135 (C11-13-15 alcohols), Neodol 1, (C11 alcohol), Neodol 3, (C13 alcohol), and Neodol 5, (C15 alcohol).

Both alcohols and ethoxylates are product groups. Generic formula for alcohols is CnH(2n+1)OH often referred to as 'ROH'. Generic formula for ethoxylates is RO(CH2CH2O)nH.

How are NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates used? 

NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates are found in a wide variety of everyday products. NEODOL ethoxylates and other NEODOL-based surfactants are used in many of the most respected consumer detergents, cleaning products and personal care products worldwide. They are formulated into laundry powders and liquids, dishwashing liquid and hard surface cleaners. They are also used in the manufacture of a variety of industrial chemicals and in lubricating oil additives.

NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates are often derivatised before use in formulations. The ease of ethoxylation and sulfation by conventional means makes the derivatives suitable for a broad spectrum of surfactant applications.

Our key strengths in alcohols and ethoxylates

  • One of the largest integrated producers of alcohols and ethoxylates globally. 
  • High quality products manufactured to global specifications, allowing customers to create global formulations. 
  • Unique manufacturing flexibilities, with even and odd carbon chain alcohols. 
  • Differentiated alcohols and custom combinations depending on your needs. 
  • Active player in industry forums that promote scientific, risk-based assessments of alcohols and ethoxylates. 
  • Technical product experts, located in Houston and Amsterdam, that work closely with customers to identify the appropriate products for their needs and optimise formulations. 
  • Depth of knowledge and experience gained over more than 50 years.



As shown in the table below, the NEODOL alcohols are named based on the number of carbon atoms contained in the product. For example, NEODOL 91 is a blend of C9, C10 and C11 alcohols.

For the NEODOL ethoxylates, the description of the parent alcohol is retained, e.g. NEODOL 91, and is followed by a number indicating the average moles of ethylene oxide (EO) added.


Product/Grade Carbon chains EO groups Download
NEODOL 3 C13 N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 5 C15 N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 9 C9 N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 91 C9/C10/C11 N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 1 C11 N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 23 C12/C13 N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 25 C12/C13/C14/C15 N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 45 C14/C15 N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 135 - N/A Datasheet


Product/Grade Carbon chains EO groups Download
NEODOL 91-5 - N/A Datasheet
NEODOL 91-61 C9/C10/C11 6 Datasheet
NEODOL 91-8 C9/C10/C11 8 Datasheet
NEODOL 23-2 C12/C13 2 Datasheet
NEODOL 23-6.5 C12/C13 6.5 Datasheet
NEODOL 25-3 C12/C13/C14/C15 3 Datasheet
NEODOL 25-51 C12/C13/C14/C15 5 Datasheet
NEODOL 25-7 C12/C13/C14/C15 7 Datasheet
NEODOL 25-9 C12/C13/C14/C15 9 Datasheet
NEODOL 45-7 C14/C15 7 Datasheet

1 Please consult with your Account Manager regarding availability.


NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates have diverse end-uses. Within the range of C7 to C17 alcohols, Shell chemicals companies offer a wide variety of alcohols and ethoxylates containing blended carbon chains to satisfy customer needs.

The surfactant market continues to undergo major changes and the NEODOL product range has been and will be adapted to serve changing needs. More than one NEODOL product is frequently suggested for a given end-use. In the final analysis, the customer will be required to choose the best product for a particular application.

By adjusting the ratio of the NEODOL surfactants, and sometimes by combining with other surfactant types, formulations can be optimised for such features as detergency, foam profile, builder type, enzyme stability, cold water performance and product multi-functionality.

Laundry products 

Laundry detergency is the capability of a surfactant system to remove soils and stains from fabrics. Three types of products derived from NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates play major roles in laundry detergency processes: alcohol sulphates, alcohol ethoxy sulphates and ethoxylates. In this regard, Shell chemicals companies respond to customers' needs by offering NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates for sulphation and ethoxylates for direct formulation into finished detergents.

A NEODOL product may be chosen for a particular formulation for a variety of reasons: superior detergency for particular soils, compatibility or synergism with other surfactants or enzymes, cost/performance, and satisfactory supply position. Biodegradability characteristics must be satisfactory, and the surfactant must perform well with a particular builder or, in some cases, no builder at all. Many other selection criteria are also involved.

Light Duty Liquid Detergents (LDLs) 

Most consumers judge the effectiveness of LDL detergents by dishwashing foam stability. Therefore, this performance criterion is quantitatively measured when judging the effectiveness of a particular LDL. Product appeal is also governed by other physical characteristics such as viscosity, low temperature stability, grease cutting ability, odour, appearance and skin mildness.

While Shell chemicals companies do not supply NEODOL-based ethoxysulphates, they do supply a variety of sulphation-grade ethoxylates for sulphation, i.e. NEODOL 23-2, NEODOL 25-3. In addition, mid-mole ethoxylates such as NEODOL 23-6.5 may be sulphated for use in liquid detergents.

Outstanding dishwashing foam performance can be obtained with liquids based on ethoxysulphates derived from NEODOL ethoxylates in combination with other ingredients such as alkyl benzene sulphonate, alpha olefin sulphonate and fatty acid diethanol amide. NEODOL alcohol ethoxylates offer the advantage of good grease-cutting performance and suitable skin mildness.

Hard Surface Cleaners 

NEODOL ethoxylates and ethoxysulphates are widely used to formulate hard surface cleaners such as pine oil cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, floor and wall cleaners, and all-purpose spray cleaners.

The NEODOL 91, 1 and 23 series of ethoxylates are excellent candidates for hard surface cleaning applications. NEODOL 91 ethoxylates are often the most suitable for starting formulations. NEODOL 1 series ethoxylates offer excellent rinsing properties. In some cases, the NEODOL 23 and 25 ethoxylates are also suitable. An alcohol ethoxysulphate, such as one based on NEODOL 25-3, is often an appropriate choice where a higher foaming anionic surfactant is required. NEODOL 1, 91 and 23 alcohols can be ethoxylated to suit formulation needs.

Lubricating Oil Additives 

NEODOL alcohols are suitable for the manufacture of a number of commonly used additives in lubricating oils. They are used as a raw material for viscosity index improvers and as pour point depressants by major producers of additives in both Europe and the United States.


Our new light alcohol, NEODOL 9, can help to meet your needs in formulating effective cleaning products. Its launch underlines our commitment to the surfactant industry and our continuing support for our customers’ innovation and growth. Commercial manufacture of NEODOL 9 has already started at Stanlow in the UK.

Alongside the new alcohol, we are commercialising a new ethoxylate, NEODOL 9-7, which can be used in:

  • Fast-wetting applications such as hard surface cleaners, agricultural adjuvants and textile applications; 
  • Co-surfactants to enable super-concentrated surfactant blends for detergents. 

Hard surface cleaners and other fast-wetting applications 

NEODOL 9-7 ethoxylates show a range of performance benefits that are important in fast-wetting applications:

Comparison of surfactant characteristics and customer benefits

Characteristics  Benefits  N9-7  N91-6  N91-8  N23-6.5  N25-7 
Biodegradable Regulatory compliance + + + + +
Low viscosity Handling ease ++ ++ + + +
Non-gelling Easier to process ++ + + - -
Fast wetting Rapid soil penetration ++ ++ ++ + +
High solubility Rapid dissolving ++ ++ + - -
Cloud point Maintains final product clarity ++ + ++ - -

Compact laundry formulations 

Ethoxylates of NEODOL 9 offer exciting opportunities to detergent makers looking to produce super-concentrated, high-active matter (HAM) surfactant blends of up to 90% total active matter. They can be combined with either alcohol ether sulfate or LAS anionic surfactants, in either laundry or dishwashing detergents.

In addition to viscosity and dissolving time benefits, detergents incorporating HAM surfactant blends deliver more effective cleaning than blends using traditional non-ionic co-surfactants.

Regulatory support 

Shell Chemicals is committed to protecting human health and the environment, as well as taking the necessary steps to ensure that products supplied meet regulatory requirements. More specifically:

  • NEODOL 9 has been registered by Shell in REACH (the European chemicals regulation). 
  • NEODOL 9-7 is considered to be a polymer; REACH registration is therefore not required, but a notification is pending into the European Classification, Labelling and Packaging regulation.

More information

  • Download a presentation on NEODOL 9, shared at the 2012 American Cleaning Institute Annual Meeting & Industry Convention

The Shell advantage

Why choose Shell?

Global supply capability 

NEODOL LM* ethoxylates are manufactured to global specifications across the Shell manufacturing network. Shell's flexible distribution capabilities allow products to be shipped to alternate locations.

Experienced team, personal service

Shell customers have access to the support of experienced scientists who can offer hands-on expertise and data to customers when formulating new products.

Value through versatile products 

Formulators have the flexibility of using the same NEODOL LM ethoxylate ingredient in several products, thus simplifying handling time and cost.

A good steward of the environment

Shell Chemicals have a strong focus on Product Stewardship and are committed to setting and achieving high standards in health, safety and environment (HSE) management. Commercial and technical teams work independently and with industry groups to test and evaluate products, and information is shared with customers and the industry on HSE matters.

“Product descriptions are for information purposes only. Products sold by Shell Chemicals companies shall comply with specifications included in the relevant sales contract. Shell Chemicals make no other warranty or representation of any kind concerning the products sold, whether of their merchantability and fitness for any particular purpose or otherwise, and none shall be implied.”

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NEODOL LM ethoxylates are derived from oleochemical alcohols and are used broadly in household and personal care applications.