Helping to Commercialize
Sustainable Technology and Processes

EcoSynthetix Provides Bio-based Alternative
for Coated Paper Industry

The relocation of the R&D facilities and staff of EcoSynthetix Inc. to Burlington, Ontario from Lansing, Michigan has received funding support from the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance. EcoSynthetix markets bio-based materials that are designed to replace petroleum-based adhesives and paper coating binders.

"We were pleased to see SCA participate in a $30M round of financing that was completed in November," says CEO John van Leeuwen. "SCA has a focus on innovation in science and engineering to advance sustainability and EcoSynthetix shares this focus."

ecosynthetixEcoSynthetix Burlington, Ontario

Van Leeuwen says the company's new 34,000 sq. ft. head office and Centre of Innovation is focused on developing two EcoSynthetix technology platforms into bio-based products for many different industries.  "The biolatex® polymer platform is unique and has already shown to be a disruptive innovation in the paper industry. We believe that EcoSynthetix can play an important role in bringing sustainable products to market and reduce the reliance on petroleum-based chemicals and polymers."

An estimated 15 billion pounds of petroleum-based latex are used in products annually. The global paper coating industry uses over four billion pounds of synthetic binders annually, valued at about $5 billion U.S. For high quality offset and rotogravure printing used for magazines, color printed materials and packaging, the paper requires a coating to make it smooth, white and printable. The paper industry has traditionally relied on petroleum-based coatings or binders made from different types of polymers.

ecosynthetixJohn van Leeuwen (left) in paper production area

EcoSynthetix has invented a biolatex binder produced from renewable feedstocks as an alternative to petrochemical binders. EcoSphere®, the company's first biolatex product, is a dry biopolymer nanoparticle agglomerate powder that can be used dry or pre-dispersed in water.

Current customers include Nippon Paper Industries in Japan and FutureMark Paper Company in the U.S. EcoSynthetix also ships to a number of other companies in Japan, Indonesia, China and Latin America. In the future, the company may expand the range of crops it relies on to procure starch for biolatex products. An example is specialty potatoes currently grown in Europe that aren't needed for food consumption but could be a good source for biomaterials if grown in Canada and also tapioca grown in warmer climates.

Although its primary focus is the paper industry, EcoSynthetix is also looking at expanding into other markets such as building materials, personal care and textiles. "The SCA has done a great job linking many of the stakeholders in sustainable innovation and we believe that his creates synergy between our two organizations," van Leeuwen says. "A lot of the advances will have to come from networking and collaboration between industry partners and academia. We see SCA playing an important role here and we want to leverage this synergy."

ecosynthetix

Founded in 1996 and with R&D facilities in Burlington, Ontario, EcoSynthetix Inc. markets its Ecosphere products in packaging and paper coatings. The company focuses on developing green alternatives to petrochemical products. Using field crops such as corn, tapioca and potatoes, they have developed a proprietary process to produce coatings and adhesives that can replace petroleum-based products.
He adds that Ontario, as a province, and the GTA, as a region, have many things to offer to companies engaged in sustainable chemistry.  "The support of the federal government via SDTC (Sustainable Development Technology Canada) and the provincial government via IDF (Innovation Demonstration Fund) played an important role in EcoSynthetix relocating its operations to Burlington. We look forward to industry collaboration and developing strong relationships with the universities and colleges that surround us here."

ecosynthetix

Founded in 1996 and with R&D facilities in Burlington, Ontario, EcoSynthetix Inc. markets its Ecosphere products in packaging and paper coatings. The company focuses on developing green alternatives to petrochemical products. Using field crops such as corn, tapioca and potatoes, they have developed a proprietary process to produce coatings and adhesives that can replace petroleum-based products.
Spring 2011 - SusChemAlliance - Page 3
Spring 2011 - SusChemAlliance - Page 3