sustainablematerials

  • 12 June 2020

    Greenrail

    By Giovanni De Lisi – CEO & Co-Founder of Greenrail Giovanni De Lisi tells his experience in the field of railway infrastructures mentioning the startup Greenrail, that is responsible for creating eco-friendly sleepers made of plastic deriving from urban waste and rubber deriving from the recycling of end-of-life tires. The market where the company operates, was dominated by wood and concrete, with products that had been engineered in the early 1900s. In the world there are one million 700 thousand kilometers of railway lines currently in existence, of which 10% made of wood and the remaining 90% made of concrete. When he decided to start his start-up, De Lisi knew the reference market very well, having a family that deals with the assembly and installation of railway lines and in which he has worked directly for about 5 years. During this experience, he realized that the plastic sleepers, which were being developed at that time, could only be a substitute for 10% of the wooden infrastructures, and so the field of action was extremely limited. The idea was therefore to develop a product that could cover the remaining 90% of production with an environmental friendly material. The reference market for sleepers is a very large market. Just think that only the sleepers replaced for normal maintenance activities are 140 million per year. Beside the dimensions, De Lisi realized that the current dominant product, namely the concrete sleepers, had many limitations and, for this reason, he convinced himself to launch an alternative product that had better technical characteristics. As a startup, Greenrail had to undertake an uphill path: the sleepers mixture was realized in collaboration with the Polytechnic of Milan after 35 attempts. Initially, the mixture of thermoplastic material, obtained from about 50% from end-of-life tires and 50% from recycled plastic...
  • 18 May 2020

    Nlcomp

    Monfalcone, Italy – Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of Northern Light Composites (nlcomp) project, an Italian startup born from the passion for the sea and sailing of the three founders – Fabio Bignolini, Chief Operations Officer, Piernicola Paoletti in the role of Chief Financial Officer, and Andrea Paduano, Chief Technical Officer. The company, which puts a lot of efforts in research and development of natural fibers and recycled materials for the construction of pleasure yachts, was created as a spinoff of Northern Light Sailing Team, a sailing association based in Trieste with notable results in international offshore regattas (among others, they won the ORC European Championship in 2016 and podium at ORC Worlds 2018). Their sailing skills merge perfectly with the know-how of ex-university students, already involved in the construction of sustainable skiffs within the 1001 Vela Cup, a challenge between universities from all over Italy. Given the emergency situation that Italy is experiencing, nlcomp has decided to make an online presentation for its first project: the construction of an eco-sustainable dinghy called “ecoPrimus”. The small ‘optimist-like’ boat, designed in 2016 by Hungarian designer David Bereczki for sailing schools and the first racing steps of young sailors, offers nlcomp team a great platform to work with: the design meets their requirements, the moulds are ready-made and immediately available. Their new dinghy proudly stands on the shoulders of its gigantically successful ancestor, the Optimist – while providing some modern new features and a new generation recycling concept.  The 2.42 meters long boat is 100% built with natural fibers, has a recycled core and a new type resin that allows the boat to be fully recycled. The concept is giving life to a brand-new circular economy in the nautical sector. Furthermore, the technology behind the project aims to solve one of...
  • 8 May 2020

    GS4C

    By Enrico Benco – CEO at GS4C Enrico Benco begins his presentation by introducing the innovative SME GS4C which he co-founded in 2012. GS4C identifies itself as a supplier of sustainable solutions in the sector of composite materials, its mission is precisely to transform materials in order to recover them at the end of their life, validating and making prototypes of sustainable technologies that involve companies in case studies and projects. The GS4C Business Model is based on Open Innovation to support large companies in the manufacturing sector, in particular marine, wind and automotive. The technology and consultancy transfer of Sustainable Solutions in the composite materials sector, has led GS4C to become the touchstone in the sector both nationally and internationally. Loop Mini650 was the first project presented, a sailboat made of 100% recyclable materials that demonstrates the possibility of creating zero-dump composite materials. Loop will also be the first boat equipped with the H2Boat solution with Metal Hydride in a T-shaped keel capable of storing about 7 kWh of energy in the form of low pressure hydrogen, which can be used through a 300 W fuel cell. The sailboat operates in one of the most difficult environments for composite materials (with exposure to UV rays and salt water), besides to the requirements of lightness and mechanical stress, the structure must bear. The project will be a test bed and a promotional vehicle for technology. The fiber of which it is composed is the FilavaTM of the Belgian company Isomatex S.A. FilavaTM production is unique thanks to a genuine and innovative treatment of the raw material: basalt, which is enriched with various mineral additives to increase and guarantee its original mechanical and chemical properties. Among the other projects there is also the one with Enea: it is by B.AI.i, a patented...
  • 20 March 2020

    Mogu

    By Stefano Babbini – CEO at Mogu Mogu creates sustainable and innovative materials, mainly applied in the interior design sector, starting from the idea that it is possible to grow microorganisms, through a fungal fermentation, to structure materials that would otherwise not be consistent. Therefore, starting from these two elements, the fungal strains and the fibers, a line of products has been developed by optimizing the materials according to some process variables, as well as selecting the post-treatments to arrive at high-performance finished products.Mogu’s business model has evolved over time, leading the company to create a functional identity for its target market, interior design and green building. The pillars of Mogu, as shown in the following figure, are their basic technology (fungal fermentation), an approach particularly attentive to design, combined with a strong innovative component related to the bioeconomy sector.The sector where Mogu operates, is that of green building, which is growing at very significant rates, while the products it is targeting are precisely those of interior design, with a focus in particular towards the flooring and the acoustic sectors.The modular Mogu Floor flooring is positioned in a luxury and premium market segment for flooring; the product is the composition of two main elements: the soul made through fungal bio composites, according to a soft and flexible formulation, combined with a Bio PU in which biomass is drowned: this acts as a cover of the final product, generating a product that it is 98% bio-based. The added residual biomasses confer the specific pigmentation of the material, which thus has two upcycling components: the fibers recovered from the textile industry waste that are part of the core, and the filler that also characterizes the aesthetics of the product . This project was also financed by the European Commission through SME instrument...
  • 6 March 2020

    Taller delle terre

    By Giacomo Losio – co-founder of Taller delle terre Taller delle terre (TdT) is a non profit organization that aims to revolutionize the industry of ceramic setting up circular economy production processes. The problem TdT wants to face is connected with the idea of linear systems which are no longer sustainable for our finite planet seeing they are designed on the endless processes of extraction, production, distribution, consume and disposal (the Story of Stuff, 2007).In fact, looking at the interior design sector, both ceramic and stone production chains are responsible for such negative externalities in terms of natural resources exploitation, amount of waste sent to landfill, related environmental impacts and costs for disposal.According to Confindustria Ceramica, in Italy the ceramic market is worth 5,4 billion euro per year (2018) and about 4,572 operating quarries consumed more than 4,6 million cubic meters of soil (Legambiente, Rapporto Cave 2017).At the same time also the world stone industry is responsible for sending to landfill a big percentage of the extracted material, between 20 and 30, with an estimated operating cost about of approx. 30 euro per tonne (Knowledgshare, 2016).These two linear production chains have also considerable negative effects on the environment during all the production and consumption phases (transport, packaging and final disposal): high levels of energy and water consumption; waste production and CO2 emissions (Legambiente, Rapporto Cave 2016). As underlined by United Nation SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), territories need to implement sustainability within 2030: the waste of resources and money can be contained only through innovative solutions that can generate positive effects in terms of environmental, social and economic development.Considering that in 2018, the 9% from the Italian ceramic industry revenues has been invested in new sustainable productions and green technologies, TdT developed a solution that meets these needs. The process TdT...
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