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This Victoria company wants to take on plastic packaging

This Victoria company wants to take on plastic packaging

Technology Sector Life Sciences/Bio Tech

Romain Metivet on building a green chemistry company in Victoria and the E.U.

How can you replace plastic by waterproofing paper and textiles? That's the problem Romain Metivet, founder and CEO of Victoria-based green chemistry venture Cellulotech, is trying to tackle. The company specializes in a chemical process that allows for cellulose-based materials, such as paper, to become waterproof.

Metivet initially viewed the materials industry through the lens of investing. Here, he first grew concerned with the nature of the industry, which largely focused on fossil-fuel-based plastics. "The lack of sustainability was a big issue," he said. 

When Metivet came across technology that could waterproof cellulose-based materials, he saw an immense opportunity. He approached the inventors of the technology, visited existing industrial research centres, and saw the bottleneck that prevented scale. 

"What I saw was that it wasn't a problem with the properties, [and] it wasn't a problem with the recyclability — it was a problem with the process," said Metivet. "We don't have a scalable process for this chemistry."

Cellulotech is currently working on pilot operations in the E.U. That's where most of the market demand for these products and existing research operations are, Metivet suggests. However, there's a large opportunity to tap into the local Victoria market.

"It seems natural to me that the company will develop here over time," said Metivet. "It's a big forestry and paper country, and the core vision behind Cellulotech is to give value to cellulose because it's the most abundant organic compound on earth."

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Media Contact : Victoria Tech Journal

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