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LGP2, a center of innovative research
LGP2, a center of innovative research

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Tuil’Up, the ecological roof

Published on April 12, 2021
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In mid-March 2021, a new generation of roof tile appeared on the shelves in certain DIY stores: Tuil’Up. Developed by the start-up Celloz with the scientific support of LGP2*, it offers a more environmentally-friendly alternative to the plastic, metal or asphalt products currently available on the market.

tuilup

tuilup

Having spent 20 years in the petroleum-based roofing industry, François Ruffenach, head of Celloz, wanted to do something to help the environment. After deciding to propose an alternative solution based on cellulose, he approached the researchers of LGP2 during a convention in 2016 to ask them to help him develop his project. “The basic idea was to propose moulded cellulose roofing made of 100% recycled fibres,” says the entrepreneur. “These are suspended and then shaped by thermo pressing during a stage to remove the water, a bit like with egg boxes”.

The problem is that cellulose is not waterproof. The product therefore had to be made water resistant using various treatments in order to make effective tiles. This is where Céline Martin, a lecturer at Grenoble INP - Pagora and a researcher at LGP2, came in. “We developed a process that involves soaking the initial fibrous composition in bio-based resins and coating the surface of the finished product with a thin layer of paint,” she explains. “The end result is a material that is 92% renewable”. The rest was a question of ongoing product improvement thanks to different sources of funding (ILab in 2018, fundraising in 2020, aid from the Aquitaine Region and the BPI etc.)

Three years after its creation, the start-up recently presented the first Tuil’Up products on the shelves of certain DIY stores. “For the moment, we are targeting the secondary roofing market, such as for garden sheds,” explains François Ruffenach. “That is still 7 million square metres of roofing installed each year in France alone!” Roofing elements for ancillary buildings are not subject to the same requirements in terms of fire resistance and other certifications as roofing for residential buildings. In parallel, the start-up is continuing its R&D work in partnership with LGP2 to increase the lifespan of its products and in particular their fire resistance. “Once the performance targets are met, hopefully by mid-2022, we can hope to obtain certification for our second generation of products and tackle the roofing market for residential and commercial buildings.

*CNRS, Grenoble INP - UGA
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Date of update April 19, 2021

Université Grenoble Alpes