Spanish startup Oimo is set to revolutionise the packaging industry with a biodegradable and water-soluble material with the same properties as traditional plastic.
The material is created from algae, natural sugars and vegetable oils and is non- toxic to marine life. Currently, Oimo is focusing on adapting it for the production of disposable packaging in the food sector, beverage canholder’s and cosmetic packaging.
Oimo has received a grant of 75,000 euros from ACCIÓ from the Startup Capital line funded by the Generalitat of Catalunya, The grant is aimed at promising new technology companies.
The startup is now based in Spain but is a spin-off from Brunel University London and was founded in 2019. It has already applied for a patent for this material and will begin marketing it next year.
Friday 10 July 2020 — The Spanish startup Oimo has created a sustainable material similar to plastic from algae extracts, natural sugars and vegetable oils that is non-toxic for marine life. It is a project based on the circular economy that allows the production of a biodegradable material in a marine environment, from natural sources and with the same properties of many types of traditional plastic minus the negative effects on the environment. The company has already applied for a patent for this material, designed to produce disposable packaging for the food sector, canholders for beverage cans and cosmetic packaging.
Oimo is one of the companies that benefited from the Startup Capital grant from ACCIÓ, the agency for company’s competitiveness in the Department of Business and Knowledge.
According to the CEO of Oimo, Albert Marfà, “until recently people did not realize the great impact that plastic generates for our planet, but now all companies are aware of the need to reduce it and the legislation also works in this regard, because every year more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the sea ”. “We have developed a type of sustainable packaging that weighs little
and is easy to work with to achieve the necessary flexibility or rigidity according to the needs of the different possible applications,” says Marfà.
For the company’s CEO, “it is more relevant than ever to work from the circular economy, considering the exponential increase in single-use plastics during the health crisis caused by covid-19.” The biomaterial “is biodegradable both on land and in salt or fresh water and is non-toxic to marine life, often a victim of waste that cannot be recycled,” says Marfà.
The emerging company does not manufacture final products, but formulates and designs this new biodegradable raw material that can be adapted to all types of applications and that can be used in the machinery to work the plastic that is currently used. To achieve this material, the company heats the natural molecules present in the algae extracts or vegetable oils to produce a chemical reaction that allows them to obtain a series of molecular chains that adhere to create this bioplastic. Among the uses of the biomaterial developed by Oimo are disposable food containers, canholders for beverage cans or packaging for the cosmetics sector. The startup also offers consulting services to end companies that want to understand how they can adapt the products they used to make with traditional plastic and thus contribute to “promoting sustainable innovation in the packaging sector,” explains Marfà.
Oimo, founded in early 2019 and based in Barcelona, plans to bring the new material to market with clients (manufacturers of plastic products or end customers, for example, in the food or cosmetics industry) in 2021.
The startup currently has a team of four people, a team that includes engineers, chemists, business development experts, as well as external collaborators and consultants.