Tiny but powerfully influential in myriad ways: That could describe Israel itself, but it also describes the nanotechnology advances made by Israeli academia and industry.
And that was the message that 1,000 attendees of – Europe’s largest nanotechnology conference – received loud and clear from 10 Israeli companies and their products showcased recently in Bilbao, Spain.
Two of those companies, Melodea and Valentis, are using cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) — a strong, inexpensive, biodegradable, transparent gel extracted from plant pulp –to make a variety of groundbreaking products out of a formerly unusable natural material.
Melodea pioneered an economically viable industrial process to extract CNC from industrial paper sludge and other plant-based processes, using it to form eco-friendly foams and materials to strengthen and improve bio-packaging, paper, acrylic glues and paints.
Wood pulp from paper production alone accounts for 11 million tons of waste each year in Europe, so it was a happy discovery that these fibers are a perfect source for CNC. However, the nanomaterial can be extracted from any kind of plant.
Melodea was spun out of the lab of award-winning Hebrew University Prof. Oded Shoseyov – founder of companies including CollPlant for making human collagen and the Paulee Cleantec pooper-scooper that turns dog waste into harmless powder. He cofounded Melodea with his former PhD student, Shaul Lapidot, from the university’s Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot. …
Melodea brings together agricultural biotechnology researchers, composite industrialists and clean-tech professionals, with support from Sweden’s Holmen pulp and paper company. The tech was licensed from Yissum Research Development Company, the Hebrew University’s technology-transfer arm.
The other company, Valentis Nanotech, is developing an industrial process to infuse CNC with properties to be used as advanced polymeric UV-blocking transparent films for food packaging, as well as for agricultural sheeting and for products in defense, transportation and other industries.
Incorporating different types of nanoparticles into Valentis Nanotech’s composites adds specific functionality that can be tailored to the particular application, according to CEO Dov Segev. …
Valentis was founded in 2013 and operates within Trendlines Agtech, part of The Trendlines Group.In July last year, Valentis signed a memorandum of understanding with one of Israel’s leading agricultural thermoplastics applications companies to collaborate on new product development.
[Photo: CEN Online / YouTube ]