Source: VentureCapital Magazine
Author: Amany Salama
The Hamburg-based startup Lignopure has developed a technology to make the biopolymer lignin usable in everyday products. In doing so, they want to lead the way and inspire other companies and people.
What is Lignin?
Lignin is the second most abundant biopolymer found in nature. Incorporated into plant cell walls, it ensures, among other things, longevity and stability in trees and plants, it is also an antioxidant and has a UV protection mechanism for plants. Recognizing this previously untapped potential, Lignopure has developed a patented particle technology to use lignin – for its natural benefits – in cosmetics. “Each lignin is different in its processing and properties. The key is to find the right lignin for the product in question. Ultimately, cosmetics need a suitable form; after all, you can’t moisturize yourself with a piece of wood,” says Lignopure’s co-founder and CTO Wienke Reynolds.
The company is a spinoff of the Institute of Thermal Process Engineering at Hamburg University of Technology. While Dr. Reynolds has been focusing on the biorefinery step, Dr. Joana Gil has been focusing on downstream processing and product development, while together they have been focusing on the biopolymer lignin for their doctoral research. In the process, they have discovered lignin’s potential and multiple uses – and a gap in the market: This is because, despite its many uses, to date, there have been no products on the market containing lignin. “This is due to the technological gap between producers and end users, and we want to close this gap,” says Lignopure’s founder and CEO Joana Gil. The lignin that Lignopure processes is sold to cosmetics manufacturers, who then produce the finished cosmetic products.
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