Allegrini 2018

Clean plastic from wine waste: the startup AgroMateriae’s winning project

The Emilia company won the National Innovation Award for its enhancement and transformation project to benefit the plastics industry

More and more often innovation is becoming synonymous to environment, which is a promising sign of sensitivity that is gaining ground in Italy as well, and often driven by the new generations of scholars and entrepreneurs. A winning example is the startup AgroMateriae, from Emilia, that won the National Innovation Award in Bologna. The goal of the project is to enhance and transform, on an industrial scale, waste from the agro-industrial supply chain into new raw materials, at the service of the plastics and bio-plastics industry. The launch product is called Wine Plastics filler (WPL), a technological powder obtained from wine waste that can be mixed up to 60% with all existing plastics and bio-plastics. Thus, waste is “valued”, and in turn creates new value.

The potential market for Agromateriae’s “products” is gigantic. For instance, considering only disposable products, the startup can count on 13 billion euros, while for packaging, agriculture and consumer goods they could reach 40-50 billion euros. “Winning this Award is fundamental for us, as it will allow us to increase our commitment in R&D and be able to spread our know-how” commented the CEO of AgroMateriae, Alessandro Nanni.

“Giving an award to a startup that deals in transforming agro-industrial waste into new green raw materials, at the service of the plastics industry”, explained Alessandro Grandi, president of PniCube, “demonstrates how innovation from Italian Universities and public research organizations is at the service of the sustainable development of our planet”.

The National Association of University Incubators – PniCube, created the National Innovation Award in 2003, to spread corporate culture in the University environment and shorten the distance between research and the market, stimulating dialogue among researchers, entrepreneurs and financiers. Another startup was also among the top winners, Sams Technology, which proposed an innovative anti-counterfeiting and traceability package marking, especially designed for the pharmaceutical and food industries.

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