Financing is in place – now the pilot project processes can start
The team that has moved into the Research Park at Herøya Industripark and that will further develop Funzionano's technology: From the left, senior chemist Eva Landsem, CTO Dag Høvik, CFO Hans Vidar Hanssen, general manager Morten Eikenes and chairman Svein Ove Faksvåg.
Funzionano AS has moved into the Research Park at Herøya. Financing is in place. Morten Eikenes has been appointed general manager, and the company is now preparing for the pilot phase, to develop its patented technology to industrial scale
Funzionano AS is a spin-off from SINTEF, which develops innovative, ecofriendly nanotechnology. The company operates sale and production of functional, nanotechnology-based hybrid polymers, with documented, customised and materials-improving properties. In simpler terms, Funzionano AS focuses on polysiloxane cores with a specific characteristic. These cores gain new characteristics through chemical processes, so that the new molecules can change and improve other materials.
A number of areas of use
“More than 40 patents, in seven classes, have been filed,” says technical manager Dag Høvik. “Some years ago, we worked with Jotun in a project in which our technology was used in Drygolin Extreme, with the result that the use of solvents in paint was reduced, and the paint's characteristics were improved.”
Funzionano’s technology is used for fire retardation of building materials containing wood, and it can be used to give plastics such as PET new characteristics. “PET in, for example, the types of soft drink bottle we use daily is not airtight. Our solution makes the bottles completely airtight, and thereby more suitable for mineral water, juice, beer or other beverages.”
Improving other products
General manager of Funzionano, Morten Eikenes
“We're now working on customer testing and pilot projects, in order to upscale production from laboratory to pilot-project scale. This will be followed by upscaling to full industrial production. We're looking at how our technology can be used to improve other products,” says the newly-appointed general manager of Funzionano AS, Morten Eikenes. “We're now in a phase of assessing which technologies based on our polysiloxane cores we should develop further. Now, financing is in place, and together with our owners we now have a good platform to further develop the technology in the coming years.”
The local seed capital fund Skagerak Maturo and the state seed capital fund Investinor have contributed fresh capital. Funzionano AS has also received support from Innovation Norway's environmental technology scheme for pilot processes for selected technologies.
Moved into the Research Park
The financing has made it possible for the company to move into the Research Park in Herøya Industripark. Up to now, Funzionano AS has operated with contracted personnel. Now, the company can hire employees, and the new manager expects that the company will have a staff of five to six in the course of the next year. “This financing opens up opportunities for us to focus on the pilot project process. We’ll be investing in a pilot plant, and we expect that it will be located here at Herøya. Here in Herøya Industripark, we have access to expert staff and the infrastructure we need.”
“We'll also be looking at upscaling production, to come up to industrial deliveries,” says Høvik. “Today, we're working at laboratory level. To cover our customers’ requirements, we need to scale up production by a few thousand tonnes. Scaling up from lab to full-scale production will be through pilot projects managed from Herøya. Our strength is industrial experience and expertise, giving us the ability to create products effectively, developing solutions for full-scale production.”
“Funzionano AS works with environmental technology. The solutions developed can, in some contexts, contribute to replacing environmentally hazardous chemicals in various products, giving more environmentally sustainable processes,” says Eikenes.
Tekst og foto Ole Bjørn Ulsnæs <obuSPAMFILTER@skribenten.no>