Lixia’s “Dendronic process” was created by company co-founder Florence Gschwend, while working on her Ph.D. at Imperial College London. It uses ionic liquids to isolate cellulose, which can be used to make everything from paper to clothing to plastics; lignin, which can be used in other kinds of industrial applications, including biofuels; and the heavy metals in construction waste, which also can be reused. Anything that contains cellulose and lignin can be transformed using this process.
Aiming for sustainability
“This is the beauty of our process — it can break down any type of organic, bio-mass based materials,” including crop waste, Krisztina says. “And for most industries, these are a nuisance — waste that they either burn or ends up in a landfill.”
Lixea won a prize in the 2019 Social Innovation Tournament, created by the EIB Institute to promote creative environmental and social entrepreneurship. It has won several other prestigious awards and investments, including €2 million from the European Council Investment Fund and other funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
“We started out five years ago with one person and an idea, and now we are 10 people with over €4 million in the bank,” says Krisztina, who joined the company in March 2020 after more than 10 years in the bio-economy field. For her,
working with the team at Lixea is a chance to help make a mark in creating a more sustainable world.
“Without sounding very corny, it’s not like a calling, but it’s definitely something that excites me each and every day.”