EIT RawMaterials supported project MiRaCLe develops an innovative spin-off company Kerline

MiRaCLE is a Network of Infrastructures (NoI), an innovation project supported by EIT RawMaterials since January 2016. The project consortium shares competencies, expertise, equipment, instruments and themes to develop new bio-materials composites from renewable resources for the substitution of critical raw materials or toxic substances. As an effect of activities carried out within the innovation project MiRaCLE, the start-up Kerline was created in June 2017, a spin-off company of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), coordinator of the project.

From the very beginning, I have been extremely well impressed by the commitment of the Kerline team and its capacity to conceive and implement clear strategies to create marketable products from a keratin-based multifaceted and cutting-edge biomaterial. I believe the technology and know-how that distinguish Kerline represents a truly innovation that is beyond the state of the art in different market fields.

Dr Gianfranco Bellezza, Founder & CEO of Golden Bridge Consulting S.a.g.l., Manno, Switzerland.

Kerline has developed a green and versatile technology to produce FullKer®, a natural and multifunctional biomaterial that contains keratin and is extracted from industrial waste, such as sheep wool or poultry feathers. The FullKer®  has flame retardant properties suitable for being used in plastic blends, composites or foams, in substitution of presently used flame retardants using Antimony TriOxide (ATO), which is considered one of the most important Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) in the EU.

FullKer® is recovered by wastes and by-products of agri-food and textile industries and targets the application of high added value, non-halogenated, non-CRM and bio-based flame-retardant and plastic additive. The circular economy approach is targeted to solve both the problem of biomasses that are expensive to recycle and causing pollution issues and of plastic manufacturers, that are forced to use CRMs and expensive flame retardants.

Business Creation and Support

The creation of the start-up was supported by the business development and technical support services offered to entrepreneurship-minded researchers by the project MiRaCLE. This support has triggered the creation of the start-up Kerline in June 2017 and lead, in December 2017, to the signature of a one-year research contract under the MiRaCLE umbrella between Kerline and CNR.

Kerline and MiRaCLE strengthened their collaboration within the BLADMI innovation project, supported by the EIT RawMaterials since October 2017, a joint collaboration of three on-going innovation projects: MiRaCLEFREECATS and ADMA-DP. Furthermore, this project the international mobility of an Aalto University PhD student hosted by Kerline in November-December 2017.

Additionally, the EIT RawMaterials Innovation Hub CLC South decided to support Kerline through the Start-up and SME Booster instruments in May 2018 within the NATUN project, aimed to produce viable, industrially-scalable and effective flame retardants for plastics through bio-based FullKer® P, in substitution of commonly used flame retardants based on Critical Raw Materials CRM (ATO).

The EIT RawMaterials Innovation Community’s Knowledge Integration

The EIT RawMaterials Innovation Community’s Knowledge Integration model was the key factor in Kerline success. All Knowledge Triangle actors (industry, research and higher education partners) mutually contributed to this journey:

  • under the MiRaCLE umbrella, a research organisation CNR triggered the start-up creation and offered, in a vibrant environment, fully equipped laboratories and the support of highly skilled researchers that de-facto helped Kerline in meeting its business objectives.
  • under the BLADMI umbrella, a PhD student from Aalto University joined Kerline contributing to generating new breakthrough business ideas.

Kerline has also contributed to expanding the scope of applied researches performed within CNR. Oulu University and Aalto University further strengthened their international cooperation and the PhD student gained valuable entrepreneurship skills at the end of his placement at Kerline start-up.

The EIT RawMaterials, fostering mutual collaboration among the Knowledge Triangle actors, is a key strategic partner of researchers and entrepreneurs like you that transformed an applied research topic into a green and versatile technology (FullKer®) through a Network of Infrastructure (MiRaCLE NoI) and a start-up (Kerline) operating in this exiting Research & Development & Innovation environment.

Dr Roberto Zamboni, President of the Bologna CNR Research Area, Bologna, Italy

Members of the MiRaCLE project consortium:

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