PaperShell: Swedish startup revolutionizes materials with paper-based composites

Anders Breitholtz, CEO and founder of PaperShell. Image credit: Press photo.

To address climate challenges, we need fast solutions. This requires speeding up innovation processes and supporting ideas to reach the market quickly. PaperShell, a startup aided by RISE, has done this effectively. They’ve created bio-based solid materials, like fiber composites, and weather-resistant materials, like some plastics. This material can be customized using different molding methods for vehicles, furniture, and sports equipment.

“It has been invaluable to be able to utilize RISE’s expertise and accumulated knowledge when it comes to fiber, toolmaking, and much more, as well as their equipment, which we could not have afforded to buy ourselves”, says Anders Breitholtz, CEO and Founder of PaperShell.

With over two decades of experience as a technology scout specializing in materials and manufacturing techniques, it was a natural progression for him to delve deeper and develop materials capable of addressing significant environmental challenges.

“We have identified two abundant bio-streams that can replace fossil fuel-based materials: agricultural waste from food production and raw materials from the forestry industry,” explains Breitholtz. “Currently, we’re underutilizing valuable resources, such as lignin and hemicellulose, by simply burning them. What we’re doing now is harnessing cellulose fiber and reintegrating components found in both trees and plants. This allows us to reconstruct wood and create an exceptionally strong material.”

Revolutionary Material Startup Secures Funding

Breitholtz and co-founder Mathieu Gustafsson initiated the development of the new material in 2018. Early tests yielded results surpassing expectations, revealing the material’s unique properties. It could achieve shapes unattainable by paper or wood, possessed natural flame-retardant properties, and exhibited minimal water absorption despite being made of natural fiber.

Their enthusiasm grew when they conducted durability tests, subjecting the material to rigorous conditions such as 30 cycles in a dishwasher without observing any significant weight change. These qualities impressed renowned investors and industrial figures quickly supported the venture.

By 2020, the groundwork was laid for the company’s establishment, with a successful fundraising round of five million kronor and the commencement of pilot production in Tibro. Building on this momentum, they assembled a skilled board and engaged in fruitful discussions with potential clients. Subsequent funding rounds raised SEK 114 million, propelling the project forward.

Techarenan News/Monok

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