Evonik Wagers on Interface Polymers' Additives Technology
German chemicals company Evonik said that it is investing in British company Interface Polymers Ltd. (IPL), which was established in 2016 to commercialize inventions made in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick in Coventry. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
A core interest for Evonik is IPL’s Polarfin additives, which simplify the processing of plastics mixed with polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The technology allows recycling of such plastics in multilayer films used in food packaging, “one of the biggest problems in the recycling process,” said Evonik.
PE and PP are versatile and widely used because of their low weight and durability. However, added Evonik, their poor compatibility with other materials is a drawback, which Polarfin additives address.
IPL’s di-block chemistry can also raise the surface energy of the two polymers, making them receptive to paints and glues. Currently, costly and time-consuming surface treatment processes are required to prepare the materials. Polarfin additive technology makes such preparation unnecessary and also substantially reduces the amount of additives needed.
“Many modern applications would be unthinkable without plastics, but recycling them is still a big challenge,” said Bernhard Mohr, head of Venture Capital at Evonik. “Interface Polymers’ additive technology offers a solution and is an excellent fit with Evonik’s Circular Plastics Program.” The Sustainability Tech Fund launched by Evonik in 2022 is adding Interface Polymers to its investment portfolio. In this way, the Evonik Group is strengthening its technological expertise to realize its sustainability goals, the company said.
In addition to the investment by the Sustainability Tech Fund, Evonik’s Coating Additives business will engage in an extensive development partnership with Interface Polymers with the aim of using its technology in paints and coatings. Elias Lacerda, head of Evonik’s Coating Additives business line, said he was impressed by the speed with which Interface Polymers has developed in the past two years. “With its help, we want to reduce or even eliminate the intensive pretreatment of surfaces.”