Home » Investor backs world-first bio-plastic suitable for construction

Investor backs world-first bio-plastic suitable for construction

by Mark Cantrell
Floreon Technology, based in Hull, has developed a range of bio-plastics made from plants

The world’s first low-energy, non-oil-based, high-performance bio-plastic, developed by a Sheffield University spin-out business has secured £2m financing from investment firm, Northern Gritstone.

Floreon Technology, based in Hull, has developed a range of bio-plastics made from plants, including corn and sugar cane, with potential applications across a range of industries – automotive, electronics, electrical appliances, food packaging – and construction.

Nearly all the world’s plastics – over 99% are produced from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels; Floreon says its bio-plastics offer a sustainable alternative. The global bio-plastics and bio-polymers market is projected to reach $27.3bn by 2027.

Floreon was founded by entrepreneur Shaun Chatterton in 2011. Chief technology officer, Dr Andrew Gill joined in 2013, having completed his PhD, and a knowledge transfer partnership with Sheffield University.

Chatterton, Floreon’s chair, said: “Everyday oil-based plastics are contributing to the global environmental crisis. Our vision is to offer brands an alternative product and through this transform the global plastics market. We are delighted to partner with Northern Gritstone. Their support, experience and investment will enable us to develop our team and deliver our commercial strategy.”

Unlike other bio-plastic products, Floreon’s materials are said to have uniquely achieved the performance standards required for high-value applications and mass production.

What’s more, through using plants to take carbon dioxide directly from the air and convert it into sugars that can be used as feedstock for the material, Floreon claims its bio-plastics production can reduce carbon emissions by up to seven times compared to traditional oil-based plastics.

The company’s innovations include:

  • Therma-Tech, the world’s first bio-plastic to achieve UL94V-0 flammability certification, allowing its use in applications such as home electronics, automotives, and construction
  • Dura-Tech, an “ideal” alternative to ABS when fire resistance isn’t needed
  • Bio-Tech, an industrially compostable version said to be ideal for food packaging and agricultural applications

Northern Gritstone’s investment will allow Floreon to expand its team and bring its products to market.

Duncan Johnson, chief executive of Northern Gritstone, said: “Floreon has developed an innovative and unique technology that offers producers a genuine route to reducing the environmental impact of their plastic products. This truly fits into Northern Gritstone’s ‘Profit with Purpose’ philosophy helping to create the world class businesses of tomorrow from the world class science that exists in the North of England today.”

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