Solegear, NRC bioplastic partnership to create new products

By Luke Geiver | September 21, 2012

After securing a round of Series A financing in mid-August, Canadian-based Solegear Bioplastics Inc., has formed a new partnership with the National Research Council of Canada. The partnership will combine Solegear’s proprietary formulations with the NRC’s “to create new products that would otherwise not be possible on the open market,” according to Toby Reid, CEO and founder.

Solegear’s production approach is based on plant starch fermentation, followed by a thermal blending step that creates a biobased polymer. The building blocks of the company’s trademarked Polysole resin uses plant starches, “the same starch that our grandmother used on grandfather’s shirts,” Reid said.

The company has been working with the NRC since 2007. Nathalie Legros, group leader for Polymer Bioproducts at NRC, said Solegear has done an excellent job to identify market opportunities in the rapidly growing field of biopolymers, and the recently announced partnership will allow both parties to bring Canadian innovation to the biobased plastic industry.

The main goals of the company, according to Ried, is to use a greater portion of biobased content in the biopolymers and to remain committed to the compostability of their products, the only two objectives or measurable criteria that can determine if a bioplastic is truly greener.

In addition to the current business model of delivering a finished product to its customer, the company also outsources most of its production, an approach that allows for greater geographic reach and reduced transportation footprint.

The funding receive in August will be used for raw materials purchases and sales support, according to Reid, in addition to intellectual property funding and the growth of the management team at the company.