Glenrothes, Scotland, UK, March 25, 2015 - MINISTER for Youth and Women’s Employment, Annabelle Ewing MSP, today officially opened the world’s first plant dedicated to the production of an innovative cellulose-based product that is set to kick start the Scottish Government’s journey to establish Scotland as a world leader in biorefinery, an industry already estimated to be worth nearly £200m to the Scottish economy.
Says a spokesperson: “As part of the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology, The Scottish Government’s aim is to reach £900m per year in bio-refineries by 2025.
“The plant, based in Glenrothes, Fife is the first factory to be opened by dynamic material science company, Cellucomp, and will be dedicated to the production of their ground-breaking product Curran®, a material developed from the extraction of nano-cellulose fibres from waste streams of root vegetables or, in other words, the humble carrot and sugar beet.”
Founded in 2005 by Dr David Hepworth and Dr Eric Whale, two expert material scientists, CelluComp develops high-performance products based on sustainable resources.
After years in research and development, the company is now gearing up for expansion having established that Curran® uniquely offers exceptional rheological and mechanical properties for many potential applications including paper and packaging, personal care, home care, concrete, drilling fluids, composites, food and, in particular, paints and coatings.
Curran’s® properties include mechanical film enhancement which offers added scrub resistance and less cracking for paints and coatings, as well as thickening capabilities.
Both functionalities can be achieved with a very small loading of Curran® into the paint.
The first successful application of Curran® was in composites in the form of an award winning fishing rod called The Reactor® from Sharpes of Aberdeen, a brand CelluComp owned at the time.
This application made full use of the unique strength and stiffness of the nano-cellulose based fibres.
The opening of the plant was attended by Jim Leishman, Fife’s Lord Provost, as well as CelluComp’s international investors and many of its suppliers and partners from around Europe.
Christian Kemp-Griffin, chief executive officer of CelluComp, commented:
“This is a landmark day for us at CelluComp, and we’re delighted that the production of Curran® can now begin on a more commercial scale.
“There’s a great deal of scientific innovation behind the development of Curran®. Use of the product as an ingredient for paints and coatings not only brings an important green credential but also a uniquely natural strength and durability.
“We are very pleased that Ms Ewing could join us in the opening of our first plant in Europe.
“Over the last few years, the business has benefitted from working with a number of highly-skilled young people who came to us through the ScotGrad scheme, and many of whom are now working for us full time.
“This is an opportunity for her to see, first-hand, the impact that of developing a skilled workforce can have on driving economic growth and expansion.”
Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, Annabelle Ewing, took the opportunity during her visit to speak to a number of the ScotGrad employees and to formally switch on the machinery at the plant, ready for production.
She commented: “I was delighted to be the first person to power up a new plant that will not only bring additional highly skilled jobs and growth to Fife, but which will form an important milestone on Scotland’s journey to become a world class biorefinery leader.
“CelluComp has developed a ground-breaking product which not only offers its own unique properties, but which also tackles some of the environmental challenges we face today – that of maximising the use of waste.
“I’ve met with several members of their team during my visit and it’s evident to me that investment in our young people, and in continuing to invest in developing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce, can lead to sustainable economic growth and further Scotland’s global role as an innovator.”
Anke Heggie, company growth support director, Scottish Enterprise, said: “To ensure the continued growth of the industrial biotechnology and biorefining sectors in Scotland, we need to provide our companies with access to the right support and connections at the right time.
“Scottish Enterprise has worked closely with CelluComp over the last ten years, providing an integrated package of support including account management, international market development via Scottish Development International, innovation support, funding assistance through the Scottish Investment Bank, and ScotGrad graduate placements.
“We have also facilitated introductions to the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Development Group and Chemical Sciences Scotland, the industry leadership group for this sector in Scotland.
“Scottish Enterprise is pleased to be able to support the opening of CelluComp’s new facility and looks forward to continuing to work with the company as it sets out to achieve its ambitious growth plans.”
CelluComp’s plant in Glenrothes will begin production immediately and will employ 12 new people in its day-to-day operations by the end of the year.
The company also operates a head office in Burntisland in Fife employing nine people and has used exclusively local contractors Normand and Thompson and DPS to build the facility.
For all other information, please contact Anna Gunn, Volpa, Tel: 07803 589732 or 01738 700135
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