Source: startup city hamburg
A promising biomaterial called lignin is produced in vast quantities by industry worldwide. Yet, in most cases, it ends up as a waste product.
The Hamburg-based startup Lignopure is set to change this situation with self-developed technology that exploits the potential of this renewable raw material. Such a development would go a long way towards a sustainable use of resources. We wanted to learn more about Lignopure and their idea, what the raw material lignin actually is and what it can do. Daniela Arango, CPO of Lignopure, answered some of our questions.
Could you explain in more detail what Lignopure does and what exactly the biomaterial lignin is?
Lignopure produces novel ingredients from lignin, the second most abundant biopolymer on Earth. Lignin comes from plants, for instance, trees or grains. It gives them structure and provides protection. The molecular characteristics of this biopolymer are reflected in potential functionalities such as UV protection, antioxidation, natural color and many other interesting capabilities.
Lignin is produced in large quantities by biorefineries worldwide but remains a little-used material. Lignopure has developed its own technology to convert raw lignin into fine particles that are shaped for inclusion in skincare products such as sunscreens and other cosmetics. Our technology and know-how unlock the potential functionalities of lignin that otherwise remain unfeasible for high-value applications. Lignopure aims to become the main producer of lignin-based ingredients, initially supplying the cosmetics industry. Applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries could be added in future.
Sustainability to us means bio-based alternatives that are in sync with health and environmental protection, but also valuable enough to bring about lasting change.
How would you describe the team behind Lignopure? What makes you stand out?
We are a courageous, determined team and are keen to launch a new kind of material on the market that many others would not even touch. Given the five different nationalities in our team and diverse academic backgrounds, we have achieved a good balance between technical skills and entrepreneurial spirit.
What tips do you have especially for female startup founders in Hamburg?
Do not be intimidated, and especially not by the bogus claim that women are given more opportunities simply to meet quotas. That is a cheap trick to dent your self-confidence, that is unfortunately still widespread. We would not have achieved as much and been able to compete with other impressive entrepreneurs without the right skills and determination. Most importantly, trust yourself and the work you have done. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate this and build on it.
What are your plans for 2022/2023?
We are optimizing our demo plant, which is already doing production trials. Our goal is to grow and for that, we are embarking on our Series A investment round. We want to make our ingredient, LignoBase, market-ready, as it is expected to enter the color cosmetics and sun care market in 2023. We also want to expand our team and diversify our particle technologies and portfolio.
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