CO2BIOCLEAN turns CO2 into Biodegradable Fiber That can be used in Clothing

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

CO2 is a very clean way to produce biopolymers.Fabiana Fantinel, MD and Founder CO2BioClean

This is our first in-person interview since the breakout of the corona pandemic in early 2020, made possible by Hessen Trade and Invest with their brand Invest-In-Hessen.com.

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We start with CO2 and at the end of our process … there are polymers that can be used like plastics.Fabiana Fantinel, MD and Founder CO2BioClean

Our Enablers

Invest-in-Hessen

This show was made possible by Hessen Trade and Invest with their brand Invest-in-Hessen. You can learn more about them here (https://www.invest-in-hessen.com/). We also run a dedicated sub-podcast with all interviews and news in cooperation with them. Find it all here:

Tech Startups Germany

When you have something biodegradable, it will be lasting less than 6 months in the water.Fabiana Fantinel, MD and Founder CO2BioClean

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The Founder

We interview Fabiana Fantinel (https://www.linkedin.com/in/fabiana-fantinel-33a24110/), an Italian, who founded her company CO2Bioclean (https://co2bioclean.com/) in Frankfurt. She has a Ph.D. in Chemistry and her Post-Doc at the Max Planck Institute brought her to Germany. She also holds an MBA.

Our process is already patented. … currently, our efforts are in working on the scalabilityFabiana Fantinel, MD and Founder CO2BioClean

The Startup

The startup CO2Bioclean is a green startup. They use CO2 to turn it into polymers that can be used like plastics but are biodegradable. The startup just received EU funding to start a small-scale plant to improve its patented process and work on its scalability.

Our material will last less than one year in the environment.Fabiana Fantinel, MD and Founder CO2BioClean

Venture Capital Funding

Received 6.6 mn Euros in total from European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator https://www.deutsche-boerse-cash-market.com/dbcm-de/newsroom/fokus-news-list/EU-Accelerator-f-rdert-drei-Bio-konomie-Start-ups-2914060 They will use the funding to start a first production facility to demonstrate the technology at industrial scale.

There will be additional funding round to start the production at an industrial stage, likely starting in 2023.

There is no microplastic from our material lasting for years in the ocean.Fabiana Fantinel, MD and Founder CO2BioClean

Find all links and show notes on our blog www.medium.com/startuprad-io

To start up bread and done. I own your podcast and Youtube blog covering the Germans startup scene with News, interviews and live events. Guys, hello and welcome everybody. For the first interview in I do believe to two and a half years in person. We right now here close to Frankfurt, in Ashbourne in a coworking space. I would like to welcome Fabi Anna. Hey, Fabiana, how you did? Hi? Do you? Thank you so much for an invitation. I'm doing well. I'm very pleased to be here in this interview and also, after a long time, having the pleasure of meeting you for some yeah, totally my pleasure. We tried a few times and we had technical difficulties. That didn't work out, but not less we are now today here to get you interviewed again. This interview is in our series with invest in Hassan, our sponsor of today. Go down here in the show notes and have a look what they can offer you. I was checking your linkedin profile a little bit and you have a PhD in Chemistry. I found this very interesting and I was wondering how you got to this place. Why did a PhD in Chemistry? And first thought I had in my life with that. You already like to blow things up as a kid. Yes, yes, that's where it started. I started mixing things together and see what was happening when I was a little kidder, and so that's where my passion for chemistry started and seeing what was a coming out with the result was a very interesting for me and fascinating. Then it evolved as a real my study. Ice Started to study chemistry, physical chemistry, then in the end, and I did my PhD in Chemistry, also working with polymers, working with the different type of material. So this was very fascinating for me since so my studies and of course I continued during my career, because I spent all my career in polymers. So something that be safer the line in the Bazzel, and then with you ponder and then with buy polymers, since now about seven years and this resulted in the neuventual seach Biocley. We're already talked about the company, but let's take a step back, because you talked about polymers. For everybody who doesn't have a Ph team chemistry, could you a little bit explain what this is? For me, disclaim I don't have a degree in chemistry. But for me a polymers would be plastics. I. Let's say, Yes, polym plastics are type of polymer, but not only. There are a lot of polymers. So in everyday life, for example in the food that there are a lot of polymers in the food. There are a lot of polymers, say in the cream. So if you think about your your day, you use a lot of polymers. From the time when you wake up, you may use a cream or the dorgent and this contains polymerstanding the food, there are polymers in the De origens for the house or polymers in the computer, that are polymers, because these of force of plastics. And so as we are surrounded by polymers and they really are part of our life, of a modern night life. HMM, I see. See. And so you work with polymers. You did your Ph d in chemistry in Italy and then he came to Germany for the Mac Planck Institute.

You did something that is called a post doc. Can you explain as what this is and what you did? There is so actually in my post soccer at plunk in mind. So I didn't work with the again with the polymers, with some special polymers that are used in for optics that are part of screens, of the additions and computer aims, and what I did there? I did some development for making, let's say, those polymers usable in a real life applications, and that was already one of the projects that brought me to get closer to the industry, closer to the real application. So making polymers usable in everyday life. That was really challenging. Remember, interesting. HMM, and I've seen then you also added an MBA on that right. Yeah, that's correct. Yes, I did my Mba later, let's say about ten years, with less than ten years after my PhD, because I was interested in understanding more and what economics and how the economics actually works in detail and being able to develop more also in that in that sense, being aware of the business case of the substances, the chemicals I was working with, and also being more into the administration and the topics that are necessary for for running business. HMM. You talked already about a few businesses you work for. Would have found pretty fascinating. You've been working for the European Commission Rate A. Yeah, I've been acting as advisor in the early years when they, UPEAN Commission, started to build this large program cells or rise on two thousand and twenty. I was probably one of the few advisors and I had to review to a due diligence on the projects, and I found that very fascinating because you could see that there was a European community being built, a lot of innovators from different countries with different background, and that was a really very interesting hmm. And of course you also stopped by, like you're already said, BASF, which is a big chemical company not too far away from here. Do Pont, you also had a stint at in consulting at Cap Gemini. Yes, I work for a less something less than a year at a top Gemini for consulting, for chemical also, I would say. Then, after the consulting, I got back to the to the indishly, where I belong to. HMM. Okay, I see. And you already talked about Cotwo bio clean that's a startup we're going to talk about today. Can you tell us a little bit about what's the idea behind it and how he came up with the idea? So the idea behind C to buio cleaner is to use this you too, which is of course well known as a problem for for because it causes global warming. So using Searchu for making bio polymers. So we started working on search by cleaner, on by polymers. So our problem was to solve as resourcing for by polymers, and started working with the confounder, Alesandro Capnini, on several processes for producing this by polymers, and we found that such is actually very clean and being way of...

...sourcing by polymers, as Ph a by polymers in particular, and work more on the technology and of course, this developed basically the idea, this was the core idea of search bio cleaner. We so that actually these technology is very promising, that it works and the products are very interesting applications. They are very versatile. They can be used for several types of scopes. For example, they can use as plastic, so they can use as ingredients, so they're really a wider range of applications, and so this is how this was start. We started looking at by polymers and their applications and technologies that enable the production of this by polymers in a sustainable way and also in an efficient way. So if you talk about biopolymers here, I again like for somebody who is not from the industry that would be something that feels and looks and in some cases can be used like plastic, but in the end it's not totally made out of crude oil, or parts of it are not made out of crude oil. They made out of of cut right. Yes, yeah, exactly, exactly, sutue. Let's say it's in Me Carmon source it. Of course it's not only see you, true, because you need a sort of set of reagents, but I think it's not what we are going to talk today about. The polymers that we produce are not sourced from oil. So this was a actually very important starting point for us, because I personally believe there is need force sins sinnamon material so that are sourced in a way that doesn't impact negatively environmental and Ceutuo is is is there is a way of a source. Of course some sutue can missing part of chemical because if it's coming from a petrochemical process, was originally oil. But there is no more, let's say, fresh oil or fresh material that needs we use for for the is production. It's basically it's a we use this utube when it's Awayte when it's an emission that otherwise would cause a global war. Meaning the environment. So in the sensor, the the sourcing concept is very sustainable and the biopolymers phase sort of natural by polymer, which means also doesn't have any issues with safety and if it's used in plastics or some other applications, doesn't cause any harm to the environment and to the people. So, which is also very important. Do I understand it right? So, basically, just for me as non chemist, I think there's a long tube. At one point industrial complex filters out see or two puts it in the tube and on the other side, at the end of your process, they come something out that is granular and it looks like plastic and you can use it in a lot of different applications. Would that be the right approach to think about it? Yeah, I think that's Atain that that's good. That's why the goold approach to yes, you can imagine a like life making a example, when you're cooking, you put the ingredients in and then you get you get the polymers out, so that that's up with the way of probably describing it. In practically the glasses comes into our reactor, which is a sort of potter, and then we get out some solid Internet can use that as plastics.

So they the idea is to use these polymers instead of the ordinary plastics that we we see every days, or replace them, in other words. HMM. So I do understand your process is already patented, and can you talk a little bit about the scalability. So basically, how much cotwo can you put right now in in how much usable, you call it, biopolymer, comes out at the other end a sure, sure versus your correct or process is fat andded and we have several applications that are now going in the zoning face very soon. We've got positive reports. So we are very confident on this on the side. And going to the scalability, of course we are doing a lot of work we on on the scalability. That's where our efforts are mostly focused at the moment. And Basically, with the conversion we we obtain about half of way of polymer with respected it's youtue that we put in. So if we put them in one kilo or Cutwo, we obtain approximately half a kilo of polymer, just roughly it currently, when I think about it, I don't think there is like a large deficit of cut because I currently do believe you can get it pretty cheap and there's a lot of people who want to get rid of it, so that shouldn't be problem. Would have seen on your website is that you currently working with getting those biopolymers into clothing, into sustainable closing right. Yes, yes, exactly. That's all the main objective also of the European project under the easy accelerators. You to textile. That will start very soon, probably already next month. And yes, this is the first product that we are going to ask scale. And basically, with our polymers we produce some textiles that can can be used, for example t shirts or flour stocks or sort the trials that ever you know, ready made. But of course we want to ever a broader spectrum of obligations. This is it first, differently first time user, and but it's not only the only one, because we want also to look at the applications for packaging. Or packaging is a big issue, because you use the packaging and then you wasted. So having a bide credible packaging is also big advantage. So the first application is textile, which is very important for us and we believe it's very important also for the society, because when you wash your clothes if it's synthetic. So you release microfabric, Mac of fiber and MAC fabrics in the environment in the wastewater west. If you have a Bilio gradable fiber, you don't realise anything that last more than half a year in the water. And this is of course a big different sym terms of pulley pollution in the season. And this is a very important point of for us for making the fibers and what very important point for the sustainability of this material. So but of course it is the first milestone and we plan to start there and then broad up our volume. I understand, and you talked about...

...biodegradeability. That means you don't throw it somewhere and then last for a few hundred years, but it basically you throw it like in the environment. You should not do that, just just theoretically speaking. And how long would it take until it disappears? Let's say it takes less than one year. So it disappears worth in the soil and compulsive environment, of course, and but also in the water. That's may mostly the focus, because sometimes you can't prevent the accidental spill of a classic waste and it always ends up in the waters in the related so it's really a big advantage of having by the Greadam material. So I see, and you already said, there's no microfiber, no microplastic from this that goes into the ocean and survives more than half a year. So no plastic trash islands anymore. And of course you already talked about scalability. I've seen you guys got funded. You received six point six mild in durors from the European Innovation Council accelerator. Is that money you use to further the scalability of your process? Yes, exactly. That's the point of this funding. This is basically for upscaling our processor and in particular for the application of textile. With the funding we will demonstrate the technology at the in the industrial scales or a smaller, small demonstration plant in Daser back hooks that enables to demonstrate the all the relevant parameters of the process and so then the full scale plant in the future. When you talk about the small scale plant, everybody who is not from this area, the industrial park hooks is something like you drive by four, five to ten minutes. What size are we talked about here? Like a football field? Like a normal size living room or like a couch. And we are talking about an apartment, let's say, and approximately you a bit less than Chrue undred squaresmeter in total. So that's that's a lot. The size that we will use split into three containers, and this is a, let's say, a small, small plant and of course very small in comparison with the industrial site in so basically the ideas there you try and basically everything you learn then helps you to do it really on industrial scale, getting co two into biodegradable bio polymers, as you called it. Yes, exactly, exactly. Everything that we try there and we develop there will then be implemented at the full scale. So that's that's our goal. Of course, for scale. We started from small and we go to large, but the next installation should be already a state one. Now we get into the interesting part for the investors. Here. You talk about you already have funding to build up a small plant, and everybody who would be interested in investing into how are you guys currently financed and what what would you be looking for in terms of an investor Innovation Council? And I would say it's it's closed. And of course that it was possibility for private...

...investors to participate to this this round and Co investor, which is also something that the European Commission is very happy to see, so to have a mixed participation of public and private capital. So, and this is also something that the European Commission, we support during the journeying of the European Innovation Council. Let's say. This is the current round where we are very happy to partner also with investors in vessels. Will be in the group of the European commissions or will be all under the same roof. And of course, this is the first finance around. After this financy around, there will be a second finance around, which is needed a more a Realina, a large plant, so a whull scale plant. On this round hasn't started yet because we need to get the let's say, small plant up and running to plan a term of Lee than the next step. But most likely next year we will open the next round and we are very keener of welcoming Invest Sosa and working with them for making their through scape plant for successful. Awesome. Today our interview is sponsored by invest in Hassan, and I would be also interesting interested in your perspective as an entrepreneur from abroad who came to Germany and started a company here, and what you would wish for in terms of from the regional government, from a state government plot. But first the most important question. You live in here, in and around Frankfurt for quite some time now. is they good Italian food around? Yes, of course, the excellent Italian restaurants. So I can only saying that that's really tough. I don't means Italian for you, right, but great. And what was your experience to settle here, to set up the company here, and what would you wish for our from the decision makers in the state? So actually, I must say that, especially from the group hasn't read invested, we had very good support that we started talking to them a really after the company was incorporated, already two years back, and we had a lot of support in terms of the network, because they provide a very valuable contacts to us in terms of opportunity to present our company, as we were introduced to many occasions where we could present in front of investor or just be part of a larger community of startups, and so this was really excellent and we had strategical advice or so not the next step. We had very valuable discussions on what is the next reasonable step, why we could do something a little bit different than we planned. Of course, brings a lot of value to a start up. So I think this is a great value for us and also has helped us a lot. And I say that the environment in Frank Port was very friendly and also very collaborative and easy for a startup. So I think also for a foreigner, everybody could live with our bed German and could help us and understand us.

So we're really recommend also other foreign startups to stay in your money and in the front or the environmental and other any wishes you would like to address now, anything that could be better? DISCLAIMER, we don't get it hell in summers here. They cannot make that happen. Okay, then I go to my next issue. And so I think that now that with Corona, we are more free to meet persons. So I think that so like the event today is it's very valuable. So meeting up with people, discussing, having having exchanges and also continuing the activities that will we started. So being introduced to two companies with a movie could potentially collaborate and potential investor. Of course there's a lot of value for us. So our wish is actually to keep moving in this direction and keep having the support of Hassan read investls in the sense. HMM, bottom line, guys, do more events. That is a great closing point. Thank you very much, Fabiana. It was a pleasure. I think the right way was the right term will be Melikrati, with my pleasure. So thank you very much for inviting me and greater speaking to you. Totally my pleasure, and let's check back, let's say in a few years, and maybe you could show us around in your small client absolutely. That's all the folks find more news streams, events and interviews at www dot's start off reread that Hio. Remember Sherry is carry.

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