Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Greenlabs biochemical startup seeks more funding for RnD, production

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Journalist IBP





Greenlabs, a startup in sustainable biochemicals with valuation of IDR 75 billion (US$ 5 million), aims to increase plant-based oil for economic value and the welfare of oil palm smallholders in the future. The company seeks more investors to support its research and development (RnD) and production.

PT Inovasi Hijau Indonesia, better known as Greenlabs, was initiated in 2016 but was established as a company 5 years later. It started as an RnD unit at a university supported by the Oil Palm Plantation Support Fund Management Agency (BPDPS), the Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) and DP Chemicals. The company focuses on bio-based chemicals RnD and production to create a sustainable bioeconomy.

Increasing awareness on biochemicals potential

The startup company has working with various parties to increase the scale of production and develop its RnD. It received a US$ 300,000 research grant from LPDP in its early days and has gained supports from the renowned Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). The university provided manpower to Greenlabs and served as a bridge for to company to submit a research proposal for the LPDP that eventually gave the grant.

“For the future vision and mission, we definitely want to have our own lab that is strong and stands on its own ground. Now we are still joining our partners. When there is an order on a tonnage scale we can produce it at our own place. Our objective is to have 5 to 10 companies that we are currently working with to start transition to biochemicals in 2023,” Chief Business Development Officer (CBDO) & RnD Salduna said during an interview with Indonesia Business Post on February 22, 2023.

To improve and develop its RnD, the company is also making new formulas and various trials. In addition, she hopes that Indonesians will be more educated about biochemicals.

“Now what is being developed by the company is definitely the R&D formulation which is tested, yes, we are also collaborating with others. There is still a lot going on, especially for the marketing department so that many are more literate about biochemicals,” she said.

Investment offer

According to Salduna, the company is seeking cooperation and investors to take part in biochemicals development, which includes resins, polymers and adhesives.

“We’re looking for investors for company development. When there is demand for biochemicals on a tonnage scale, it can be supported by adequate facilities and resources. We also open co-development for bio-chemicals such as resins, polymers, adhesives as well as lab testing for companies that require such services, analysis of phases and mineral content in soil, water, etc.,” she explained.

Biochemicals can also be used for other products, not only chemically related items. “For medical materials, resin is also needed as a plasticizer. So, our material is semi-raw so we can enter many sectors,” she added.

Salduna said that Greenlabs could contribute to the Indonesian economy and its fight with global warming, which includes supporting the country to reach net-zero emission by 2030. The company contributes through plant-based oil, such as palm oil and its derivatives, to increase economic value and the prosperity of palm oil smallholders.

Furthermore, its revenue is based on three factors that includes: 

1) Sales of biochemical products produced by Greenlabs to customers (bioplasticizer, biomonomer acrylate, bioadhesive, bio-oil spill dispersant).

2) Sales of a co-developed product produced by Greenlabs partners (with PT Elnusa Petrofin producing G-Spill), PT Polyplast Dwiputra Pratama (G-Adhesive) and Mycotech Pte, Ltd (G-Plast & G-Acrylate).

3) Laboratory services, such as chemical measurement and consulting in analysis.

Challenges in biochemical business

One of the Greenlabs’ challenges includes obstacles from the government as well as regulations in the biochemicals sector.

“The government regulation stipulates the reduction and prohibition on the use of toxic chemicals, such as phatates. Meanwhile, in countries such as Australia, the European Union (EU) and the United States (US), it has been banned,” explained Salduna.

According to her, Indonesia has not yet banned the use of toxic chemicals. That causes chemical companies in paint, resins, polymers and flexible materials have not yet realized to transition to biochemicals.

Journalist IBP






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