Plant-Based White Pigments That Aren’t Cancerogenic
Short Business Description:
Titanium dioxide is used as a white pigment in paints, inks, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food. However, this ingredient poses health and environmental hazards and is being banned in food.
Fribourg based startup Impossible Materials develops patented, brilliantly white pigments from cellulose – a material that is renewable, widely available, cheap, biocompatible, and easy to process. The company’s pigments can be scaled with industry-proven processes, are safe for humans and don’t harm the planet.
The white pigment market is a 16 B USD industry, dominated by one material called titanium dioxide. Every year, millions of tons of this material are produced worldwide. In recent years regulators have started banning the use of titanium dioxide, ruling it unsafe as a food additive and threatening other health-sensitive segments. Additionally, open strip mining and 100 M tonnes of CO2 emissions from its production make titanium dioxide a threat to our environment. Industries using this material are forced to seek sustainable alternatives, however current substitutes lack whiteness performance and biocompatibility.
Cambridge spinout Impossible Materials developed and patented brilliantly white pigments from cellulose. Cellulose is the main component of every plant’s cell wall and therefore an intrinsically renewable material. It’s is widely available, cheap, biocompatible, and easy to process. The startup’s pigments can be scaled with industry-proven processes, are safe to humans, and offer superior performance compared to competitors. Impossible Materials’ pigments can be used in a wide range of formulations as powder or slurry across a variety of markets such as i.e. food, pharma, cosmetics, paints and coatings, pet care or construction.
With this biocompatible, renewable cellulose-based alternative, the startup aims to mitigate environmental pollution and health hazards caused by current titanium dioxide-based white pigments. The primary impacts of this solution are associated with health and sustainability, both in regards to production and consumption in a circular economy.