InoFib, an industrialization project of cellulose microfibrils supported by LGP2 and Grenoble INP-Pagora
Published on November 27, 2013
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The Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Science and Graphic Arts (LGP2) and the Grenoble INP-Pagora engineering school support InoFib, the marketing project aimed at industrial scale production of an innovative material: cellulose microfibrils (MFC).
This project InoFib, initiated and supported by Karim Missoum engineer-doctor in materials science and bionanoparticles, with the scientific support of Naceur Belgacem and Julien Bras, is an extension of his thesis on the functionalization and surface modification of nanofibril cellulose, defended at the LGP2 in November 2012. This thesis was part of the European project SUNPAP (Scale-Up Nanoparticles in Modern Papermaking) of which the field of study and expertise included cellulose microfibrils.
Derived from wood, a renewable natural resource, cellulose microfibrils are produced from mechanical treatment of cellulosic fibers whereby the surface is repeatedly peeled. The obtained cellulose microfibrils are comparable to extremely fine filaments corresponding to a millionth size of a hair.
They have excellent mechanical properties – similar to those of Kevlar used for making bulletproof vests – and very good oxygen barrier properties, a critical function in the field of packaging. These properties make this material a real future product with many potential applications in areas such as stationery, packaging, cosmetics, composites or plastics.
The start-up being created offers various grades of microfibrils, modified or not, responding to features valued by customers.
Supported by Grenoble INP and accompanied by GRAIN (Grenoble Alpes Incubation), the InoFib project was named the 2013 OSEO contest regional winner in the category “Emergence”, thus receiving a funding of € 35,000.
Looking for industrial partners, the future company has already established several contacts with companies interested in this innovative material and plans to produce industrially in France and make its first sales in the coming months.