Xampla and 2M awarded Innovate grant to scale up production of biodegradable materials

Article by Kerry Hebden

XAMPLA, a company specialising in natural, biodegradable materials, has been awarded the Innovate UK Smart Grant alongside 2M Group of Companies to support the manufacturing scaleup of its Morro range of products.  

A spin-off from the University of Cambridge, UK, Xampla uses plant-based proteins, and other natural biopolymers for making flexible films, coatings, and microcapsules. According to Xampla, their Morro range fully biodegrades at the end of its life, is home compostable, safe for food contact, and offers high strength, grease, and oxygen barrier properties.   

As Morro materials are made from natural polymers they are not chemically modified, meaning they are exempt from the existing European single-use plastic directive – a rule which aims to prevent and reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. 

The company teamed up with 2M Group of Companies in November last year, in a deal which would see 2M produce Morro materials at its Milton Keynes manufacturing site. 

The Innovate UK Smart Grant will support this partnership to bring Morro production capacity up to multiple tonnes per day. 

Globally, 3m t/y of petroleum-based, non-biodegradable barrier coatings for single-use paperboard packaging are produced. These are often incinerated or dumped in landfill when finished with. By 2031, Morro materials could help reduce this waste, by replacing up to 10,000 t/y of single-use plastic coatings, and 1m km/y of plastic-coated paperboard. 

Alexandra French, CEO of Xampla, said: “We are proud to be awarded this grant from Innovate UK. Our partnership will support Morro Coating’s route to market by unlocking critical in-kind support from key customers and enabling access to 2M Group of Companies’ world-leading expertise in manufacturing and distribution.”   

Article by Kerry Hebden

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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