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Bioplastics startup raises millions for expansion

Bioplastics startup raises millions for expansionSwedish bioplastics startup Lignin Industries (Knivista; said it has raised SEK 25 mn (EUR 2.2 mn) through a share issue, which the company plans to spend on bolstering its position in the market, increasing the size of its team, and boosting its manufacturing capacity.
The company converts its namesake lignin, derived from wood, into an eco-friendly feedstock in plastics production (Photo: Pexels/Christopher Politano)
Lignin Industries was founded in 2018 by Christopher Carrick, the firmâ??s chief technical officer, to turn lignin â?? the brown part of wood, and the element that gives plants their strength â?? into an alternative feedstock to fossil fuels in plastics production.
The company claims that the resulting material, which it calls Renol, is 100% bio-based and carbon-negative. When mixed with recyclate or biomaterials it can generate carbon-neutral end-products.
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In 2021, the company received a grant worth EUR 4.4 mn from the European Union Innovation Fund to build what it called â??a first-of-a-kind large-scale production site able to produce 10,000 t per year initially with a potential to increase up to 50,000 t, at an industry site located in Swedenâ?.
Asked by about the groupâ??s current capacity, Ella Norén, head of business development at Lignin Industries, said, â??We are currently implementing a phased approach to gradually increase our production capabilities. Initially, weâ??re leveraging our existing facility to produce approximately 1,500 t per yearâ?.
The next phase would involve what Norén said was â??a significant, yet flexible, increase in production capacity, aiming to meet growing demand. The ultimate objective, supported by the EU grant, is to establish our own large-scale production when it is economically and strategically viableâ?. 
Renol can be manufactured using existing converting machinery. It is a versatile product, Norén said, with successful integrations into polyethylene, polypropylene, and ABS applications. â??Its exceptional processability allows for seamless integration into manufacturing processes, with adjustable infusion rates between 15-30% to accommodate diverse application needsâ?, she added. Additional investments are not required.
Consumer packaging films are already being produced using Renol, and the company said it is currently working on industry packaging films and other applications in the electronics, construction, home appliances, and automotive sectors.
Lignin Industries, which was formerly known as RenCom and whose chief executive is former Accenture consultant Fredrik Malmfors, expects to generate sales of around SEK 15 mn this year, but is unlikely to make a profit until 2027-28. 
Norén added that the firmâ??s current recruitment plans were set to bring its workforce to approximately 20 full-time equivalents by the summer of this year, supplemented by additional consultants. Manufacturing operations are centred around the groupâ??s facility located in Knivsta, 55 km north of Stockholm, as well as other production partners in Sweden and continental Europe.01.03.2024 [254705-0]

Publication date: 01/03/2024



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.