Although the company is a relatively new entrant in the fast-growing bioplastics field, Floreon Transforming Packaging Ltd. of Hull, UK, is already thinking big. The company says its aim is nothing less than to revolutionize the worldwide plastics market. To that end, it is working with Hull University Business School to develop a strategy for global success.
The company has developed a specially formulated compound, which is added to standard PLA to create a material with a sustainable origin and a range of end of life options. It was created, says the team behind Floreon, from a desire for a greener, safer form of plastic. There was a need for a PLA-based biodegradable blend suitable for the production of biodegradable products, such as bottles and other containers with better mechanical, physical, chemical and thermal properties than PLA alone could provide; a blend that would offer energy efficient processing and yield a finished product featuring the required durability and toughness. The Floreon team decided to go for it.
|Members of the Floreon team.|
After four years and a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Sheffield, Floreon was born: a fully degradable, compostable polyester-based blend that is completely free from non-degradable organic or inorganic additives (such as nucleating agents and the like). Floreon combines the benefits of an environmentally friendly plant based product with strength and rigidity, enabling it to be used in applications that previously could only use oil-based plastics.
Shaun Chatterton, founder of Floreon, is not a man to beat around the bush: "There are many organizations who want to use sustainable plant based plastics, but currently can't source suitable quality material for their needs. There is no future for oil-based plastics, which have an extremely negative effect on the environment. We have developed a plastic that we believe is four times stronger than any other bioplastic available and has the potential to become a global leader."
"It is essential that we adopt the right approach to introduce Floreon in the UK and worldwide. Therefore we are working with the University Of Hull Business School on an innovation project to establish our priorities."
Peter Andrews and David Harness, two senior academics from the University of Hull Business School conducting the innovation project, are working closely with Floreon to bridge the 'innovation gap' between this new development and the market opportunity.
"We look forward to working with Floreon to grow the company and promote an extremely viable alternative to traditional, oil-based plastics," Harness said.
The project is funded by the Yorkshire Innovation Fund (or European Regional Development fund) and the University of Hull. The funds provide access to university expertise, Research and Development and innovation for Yorkshire and Humber small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a range of sectors.