Technological watch

Investment firm ploughs EUR 14m into company developing biodegradation technology / Successful tests on plastic packaging

Investment firm ploughs EUR 14m into company developing biodegradation technology / Successful tests on plastic packagingPlanet First Partners (PFP, London / UK;, which bills itself as an investor in companies developing sustainable technologies, has taken a minority stake in Polymateria (London; The latter has created a new masterbatch system which it says leads to complete biodegradation of certain packaging materials within a year.
Charles, the prince of Wales, visiting Polymateriaâ??s lab last year (Photo: Polymateria)PFPâ??s managing partner Frédéric de Mévius has joined Polymateriaâ??s board and said his firm had decided to invest GBP 15m (EUR 13.5m) in the business after recognising its technological capabilities. These were â??underpinned by third party testing and data and, by design, with great potential to scale up quickly without significant capital cost to industry,â? he added.
Polymateria said independent third-party laboratory testing on a range of polyethylene and polypropylene had resulted in 100% biodegradation on a rigid plastic container in 336 days and on film material in 226 days, under what it called â??real-world â??mesophilicâ?? conditions.â? The company said the process needed no industrial composting facilities, left no microplastics behind and did not cause any environmental harm in the process.
According to Polymateria, independent tests had also shown its product had no impact on relevant recycling streams at scale. The biotransformation mechanism can be time-controlled according to a productâ??s shelf-life, it added, and given a â??recycle byâ? date to promote recycling to consumers.
Niall Dunne, the companyâ??s chief executive, said unlike oxodegradable technologies, biodegradation â??was able to perform carbon bond cleavage in the hard crystalline as well as amorphous structure of the polymer. It creates a wax-like material which, through the addition of our unique â??prebioticâ?? feature, ensures the wax is fully consumed by naturally-occurring organisms.â? Dunne added that Polymateria had a number of commercial contracts in place. Clients include Clariant (Muttenz / Switzerland;, with which it plans to roll out its biodegradation technology in Southeast Asia.
Polymateria appointed Marc Bolland, the former boss of UK retailer Marks & Spencer (London;, as its chairman back in April. Simon Susman, chairman of Virgin Active Holdings, has also joined the groupâ??s board.07.08.2020 [245655-0]

Publication date: 07/08/2020



This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.