How a regenerative future is created from waste materials
The time has come: Introducing the first ready-to-use minus CO2 product by carbonauten Polymers and Formcase carbonauten Polymers and Formcase have collaborated to create the first ready-to-use minus CO2 product, which will be unveiled to the public at DIDACTA 2023 in Stuttgart. Our technical biocarbon innovation introduces renewable materials that store up to 3.3 tons of CO2 per ton of product,
contributing to the defossilization of the plastics industry. These materials are obtained from biomass waste and make up 25% of our first minus CO2 product. he best part is that our carbon-filled granules, which can contain up to 50% biocarbon, are just as affordable as their fossil-based counterparts, making bio an accessible, sustainable, and superior option.
It was a long way from the idea of mixing biocarbon into plastics to the completion of the first marketable product:
Just try it, could be amazing
In the summer of 2019, Torsten Becker, one of the two founders of carbonauten, had an idea. Despite not having deep expertise in plastics processing, the carbonauten team approached a leading plastics institute in October of that year to investigate the potential of mixing biocarbon into a plastic matrix.
The two materials were compounded for the first time in an experiment, resulting in the successful mixing of biocarbon with a recycled biopolymer. The mixture worked surprisingly well, with biocarbon being mixed up to 30% of the total material. Testing rods are produced from the finished material through injection molding.
The first product is created
Impressed by the successful experiment, carbonauten continued their research and created their first product. Using a different machine, a small plastic shell was injection-molded with excellent results. After making a few adjustments to the parameters, the team achieved the perfect processing of the material. To this day, the small plastic shell remains a symbol of achievement and occupies a place of honor in carbonauten’s conference room.
First industrial partners & technical know-how
As a young company with a mission to reduce greenhouse gases and a patent on the groundbreaking combination of biocarbon with different polymers, carbonauten had a lot of potential but limited knowledge of what to do next.
Denis Maier from the R&D department took the lead in pushing research forward, attending seminars and conducting tests with various polymers. As he presented the idea at various events, there was significant interest from the industry. Towards the end of 2019, carbonauten engaged in initial project discussions with Daimler.
The basics are right, now growth is the order of the day
The carbonauten polymers team had gained enough technical expertise in the polymer field by the early 2020s to not only incorporate carbons into different plastics but also to enhance their properties through additives. Laboratory tests showed improved dimensional stability, reduced weight, and increased temperature and UV resistance. As an independent business unit, carbonauten polymers is now geared towards the future.
The team worked with various partners to produce fittings, industrial packaging, and even a thermoformed trunk tray with Daimler. These applications align with carbonauten’s core concept of producing long-lasting products that can be circulated and reused rather than discarded.
Ideas towards spin-off & The technical manager comes on board.
In late 2020, the realization dawned that the production of technical biocarbon and ready-to-use compounds are distinct processes requiring different expertise and serving different stakeholders. Hence, the idea of spinning off carbonauten polymers as an independent company surfaced. This spin-off offers investors in the plastics industry an opportunity to directly invest in the plastics arm of carbonauten, making it easier to form strategic partnerships.
In the summer of 2021, Dr. Cristian Hedesiu joined as CTO, bringing with him a wealth of expertise. He has a PhD in polymer science and has previously worked for several years in R&D for leading international plastics companies. Dr. Hedesiu is a firm believer in the need to defossilization of the plastics industry and has been enthusiastic about the potential of technical biocarbons from the outset.
Today – Shortly before the spin-off
After dedicating considerable time and resources, carbonauten polymers has accomplished its first major milestone: Nachdem viel Zeit und Ressourcen investiert wurden, verfügt carbonauten polymers heute über einen Lösungsansatz zu fast jeder Problematik. The company’s products are now physically bigger than the people who create them, as in a current project with Volvo construction vehicles,
and carbonauten polymers is now poised for success as an independent business unit.
Where do we go from here?
The first own compounder made by Thermofischer has been ordered. It not only compounds, but also extrudes. This enables another enormous speed boost for R&D. With the equipment, not only large-scale trials can be carried out, but also the first serial products can be manufactured for customers. With its own sales department, technical assistants, production staff and strategic investors, carbonauten polymers GmbH will take off in 2023 – with people for whom “fuck CO2” is more than just a slogan.
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