Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
10 Startups to Pitch Sustainable Chemistry, Material Solutions to BASF, J&J, P&G

The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3), a multi-stakeholder collaborative that drives the commercial adoption of sustainable chemistry, has selected the 10 startups that have won the opportunity to pitch their sustainable chemicals, materials, products and manufacturing technologies to large, strategic companies at the GC3’s 3rd Annual Green & Bio-Based Chemistry Technology Showcase & Networking Event. The Showcase is sponsored by the GC3 Startup Network, a program that provides support for sustainable and bio-based chemistry startups, and helps drive the market adoption of next-generation chemistry technologies.

The Technology Showcase will be held on May 8, 2018 during the GC3 Annual Innovators Roundtable, a three-day forum that enables business leaders across supply chains and sectors to exchange green chemistry strategies and network to form new partnerships and collaborative projects. Over 150 GC3 members and others will attend the Roundtable at the Eastman Chemical headquarters in Kingsport, Tennessee.

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The GC3 hosts the competition to stimulate and support sustainable chemistry innovation, as well as facilitate conversations between startups, chemical suppliers, brands and retailers. As part of the competition, 16 companies — including Apple, BASF, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble — provided their list of chemistry technology needs regarding sustainable chemicals, materials, products and manufacturing. Those companies are seeking sustainable and bio-based chemistry solutions in a range of categories including — but not limited to — adhesives, coating technologies, flame retardants, monomers/polymers, ingredients for formulated consumer products (including personal care and household products), and recycling technologies.

“As in years past, these startups will begin discussions leading to joint development agreements, licensing, and investments with companies that are seeking new chemical technologies,” said Monica Becker, Co-Director of the GC3 and Collaborative Innovation Platform Lead. “Our goal is to get these technologies to market and scale to contribute to safer and more sustainable products and operations.”

The 10 startups

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Over 30 entries were submitted to the competition. The startups selected are working to bring to market a variety of sustainable chemistry technologies:

  • ACTICELL GmbH — ACTICELL develops chemical technologies for the surface treatment of cellulosic materials, including denim fabrics and clothes. ACTICELL’s non-toxic and environmentally friendly products can be used as alternatives to hazardous dyeing enhancers or as bleaching agents.
  • Advonex International — Advonex produces renewable hydrocarbons from biologically derived plant oils, fats and greases through a patented electrochemical process. Advonex products provide the personal care, automotive and coating industries with a bio-based substitute to petroleum-derived ingredients, including high-performance base oil, white oil, wax, gels and alpha olefins.
  • Checkerspot — Checkerspot commercializes next-gen bio-based polyurethanes and textile coatings/finishes through their innovation platform, operating at the nexus of biotechnology and chemistry. Checkerspot designs materials at the molecular level by engineering microbes to produce new molecular building blocks and chemistry to assemble them into materials with novel physical properties.
  • Modular Genetics, Inc. — Modular uses its proprietary bio-engineering technology to develop microorganisms that produce renewable chemicals by fermentation. Modular produces surfactants without using petroleum, palm oil or traditional chemical processes, such as ethoxylation or chlorination.
  • Novomer — Novomer develops sustainable, cost-competitive chemicals and polymers from plant-based and renewable feedstocks. Novomer’s core process utilizes a highly selective catalyst to convert carbon monoxide and ethylene oxide into a wide range of products for commercial and industrial applications including foams, acrylic acid, acrylates, thermoplastics, elastomers, adhesives, coatings, polyurethanes and biopolymers.
  • Solugen, Inc. — Solugen is a venture-backed industrial biotechnology company that converts plant sugars to hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid. Solugen develops novel enzymatic processes to produce oxidant chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, peroxyacetic acid, propylene oxide, ethylene oxide and others.
  • SusTerea Biorenewables LLC — SusTerea develops novel antimicrobials for the preservatives market through its alternative chemical conversion pathway to aromatic molecules. SusTerea's functionalized pyrone is manufactured by fermentation of biomass-derived sugars combined with a flow-through process of chemical catalysis to final product purification.
  • Tandem Repeat — Tandem Repeat Technologies has developed a protein-based biopolymer technology for the production of thermoplastic fibers that are stretchable and tough. The technology produces programmable textiles and leathers with self-healing capability.
  • Tethis Inc. — Tethis manufactures bio-based superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) for a wide range of industries including personal care and rheological modification. The cornstarch-based SAPs provide a sustainable alternative to traditional, acrylic-based SAPs.
  • xF Technologies — xF Technologies is a technology development company converting biomass to furan-esters for cleaning solvents, adhesives, plasticizers and paint coalescers. The versatility of xF Technologies platform chemistry allows conversion of renewable feedstocks into a wide variety of renewable chemicals that have not previously been commercially available.

“At BASF, we are committed to developing chemistry for a sustainable future, so we appreciate the GC3 creating this opportunity to meet startup companies that offer innovative solutions,” said Patrick Harmon, Industry Manager at BASF. “Finding the right solutions to chemistry challenges requires collaboration between startups and large formulators, brands and retailers. The GC3 Technology Showcase creates the setting for these conversations to take place so that innovators can bring green chemistry solutions to market much more quickly.”

One of the startups, Tandem Repeat, has created a protein-based biopolymer technology for the production of thermoplastic fibers that are stretchable and tough. “As a seed-stage company, we’re delighted to have this unusual opportunity to position our technology in front of an extremely important and diverse audience,” said CEO Dr. Gözde Senel-Ayaz. “The GC3 brings together an entire ecosystem of professionals with whom we can network, ranging from retail and brand companies to chemical suppliers, research and development experts, corporate sustainability personnel, fellow startup entrepreneurs, and venture investors.”

The Technology Showcase will kick-off with GC3 member companies presenting their chemistry technology needs, followed by presentations from the startups. Additional startups will present their posters in a networking reception after the Technology Showcase.

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