Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Council Fund

EIT Climate-KIC supported Lixea (formerly Chrysalix Technologies) has received a €2 million investment from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund. The company has invented a process that uses waste materials and sustainable biomass to support a circular bioeconomy—an alternative to today’s polluting and wasteful petrochemical industry. The funding will be used to reinforce the continued operation of Lixea’s plant and support process optimisation.

Currently, society relies heavily on crude oil and products are discarded once used. Lixea is attempting to address these issues with a patented process that uses novel, low-cost and environmentally-friendly solvents known as ionic liquids to convert waste wood, agricultural by-products and sustainably-grown biomass into high-quality intermediates for sustainable chemicals, materials and fuels.

A prominent member of the EIT community, Lixea was a participant in EIT Climate-KIC’s Accelerator. It won third prize at EIT Climate-KIC’s green business ideas competition, Climate Launchpad, in 2016 as well as a €25,000 runner-up prize in the 2018 edition of the Climate Impact Battle, an EIT Climate-KIC start-up competition hosted at Slush. Florence Gschwend, Co-founder and CTO of Lixea, won the EIT Change Award and was featured on Forbes’ 30 under 30 Europe list in 2017. 

The new funding complements a previous EIC grant of €2.3 million, and Lixea is moving from its previous lab and testbed-based work to a facility. The pilot plant will be based in Bäckhammar, Sweden, and is currently under construction. 

“This is a significant milestone not only for Lixea, but for the biorefining industry as a whole,” said Krisztina Kovacs-Schreiner, CEO, Lixea. “We feel that we are approaching a breakthrough as sustainability beyond just carbon emissions is becoming an increasing concern and other alternatives to fossil-based materials need to be developed. The endorsement of the EIC brings additional credibility to Lixea as a technology innovator as well as a welcome support for our company’s vision.” 

“The EIC Fund investment will enable Lixea to accelerate the commercialisation of their technology for converting wood waste into renewable chemicals, materials and fuels as reliable green alternatives to the petrochemical industry,” said Martin Bruncko, member of the EIC Fund Investment Committee.

Learn more about Lixea in this interview with Gschwend.

 
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