World’s first low-energy bioplastics developed with the University of Sheffield raises £2 million investment

The world’s first low-energy, non-oil-based, high-performance bioplastic, developed by Floreon with the University of Sheffield, has secured £2 million financing from Northern Gritstone.

A close up of plastic pellets produced by Floreon
  • Floreon, through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Sheffield, has developed a range of bioplastics made from plants
  • Over 99 per cent of the world’s plastics are produced from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels, Floreon offer a sustainable alternative
  • The bioplastics perform better than existing bioplastics for use in high-value engineering and can reduce carbon emissions by up to seven times compared with oil-based alternatives

The world’s first low-energy, non-oil-based, high-performance bioplastic, developed by Floreon with the University of Sheffield, has secured £2 million financing from Northern Gritstone. 

Northern Gritstone, the investment business focused on university spinouts and science and technology-enabled businesses in the North of England, has today announced a £2 million Series A investment into the bioplastics developer Floreon Technology Limited (‘Floreon’), a spinout technology from the University of Sheffield.

Based in Hull, Floreon was founded by the entrepreneur Shaun Chatterton in 2011. CTO Dr Andrew Gill joined in 2013, having completed his PhD and a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Sheffield.

Floreon has developed a range of bioplastics made from plants, including corn and sugar cane, with performance comparable to Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), the common plastic polymer widely used in automotive, electronics and electrical appliances and toys.

With over 99 per cent of the world’s plastics produced from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels, bioplastics offer a sustainable alternative. The global bioplastics and biopolymers market is projected to reach $27.3 billion by 2027.

Unlike other bio-plastic products, Floreon’s materials have uniquely achieved the performance standards required for high-value applications and mass production. Through using plants to take carbon dioxide directly from the air and convert it into sugars that can be used as feedstock for the material, Floreon’s bioplastics production can reduce carbon emissions by up to seven times compared to traditional oil-based plastics.

Floreon’s innovations include:

  • Therma-Tech, the world’s first bioplastic to achieve UL94V-0 flammability certification, allowing its use in applications such as home electronics, automotives and construction.
  • Dura-Tech, an ideal alternative to ABS when fire resistance isn’t needed
  • Bio-Tech, an industrially compostable version ideal for food packaging and agricultural applications.

Northern Gritstone’s investment will allow Floreon to expand its team and bring its products to market.

Shaun Chatterton, Founder and Chair of Floreon said: “Everyday oil-based plastics are

contributing to the global environmental crisis. Our vision is to offer brands an alternative product and through this transform the global plastics market. We are delighted to partner with Northern Gritstone. Their support, experience and investment will enable us to develop our team and deliver our commercial strategy.”

Duncan Johnson, CEO of Northern Gritstone said: “Floreon has developed an innovative and unique technology that offers producers a genuine route to reducing the environmental impact of their plastic products. This truly fits into Northern Gritstone’s ‘Profit with Purpose’ philosophy helping to create the world class businesses of tomorrow from the world class science that exists in the North of England today.”

Independent review of university spinout companies

The investment comes as an independent review has been published to help improve the creation and growth of university spinout companies. The University of Sheffield is featured in the report as a case study for good practice in the sector. 

Responding to the report, Professor Sue Hartley, Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield said: “This spotlight on spinouts and the conditions they need to thrive has come at the right time for UK universities.

“At Sheffield we have heavily invested in an approach to commercialisation that allows founders and investors to de-risk innovative opportunities. This has generated a very positive impact for our region – leading to more local jobs and opportunities for international investment. 

“We welcome the review’s observations about the transport and commercial infrastructure that is needed to help spinouts make tangible differences to communities outside the South East. We look forward to working with our partners to embed the recommendations and drive forward even more opportunities for South Yorkshire and beyond.” 


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