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Enabling a future of safer laundry products and cleaner oceans

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EnviroCaps (Enabling a future of safer laundry products and cleaner oceans)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2020-04-01 al 2021-03-31

Calyxia is an innovative French SME created in 2015 as a result of a successful partnership between the prestigious ESPCI Paris and Harvard University (USA). Major research on a new microencapsulation technology was undertaken, at the request of a French world leading energy company, Total.

The H2020 SMEi2 EnviroCaps project focuses specifically on the €22 billion laundry care market consisting of liquid detergents and fabric softeners, in which fragrance microcapsules are incorporated and represents over €500 million.

EnviroCaps satisfies two major pain points for laundry care product manufacturers:
1. The EC regulation and public opinion driven need to eliminate existing toxic and bio-accumulative microplastic microcapsules.
2. The need to keep the expected level of olfactory performance of laundry care products which is provided by existing fragrance microcapsules.

Current microencapsulation technology is mainly based on the use of toxic and bio-accumulative microplastic materials such as melamine formaldehyde and polyurethane, which are expected to be removed from the market within a 3 year’ time window, as stated in the recently adopted “European Strategy for Plastic in a circular Economy”4. In advance of this regulation change, several large retailers have already requested that their suppliers remove them from their products.

Calyxia is a game changer and offers the solution: EnviroCaps, a revolutionary readily biodegradable and formaldehyde-free fragrance microcapsule technology that provides laundry care products with an even better olfactory performance than existing microcapsules.

EnviroCaps is a mono-beneficiary project coordinated by the French SME Calyxia. Accordingly, the management structure and decision-making procedure is simplified while remaining highly effective. The project is managed according to Calyxia’s own innovation management organisation, including weekly and monthly meetings, and multidisciplinary ad hoc steering groups that Calyxia has set up to develop innovative solutions or define and implement Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA).
The specific contributions towards the work package objectives are described below.

WP 1 - Go-to-market strategy

The objective of WP1 was to transform the feasibility demonstration of EnviroCaps® technology into a wide range of new fabric and laundry care products, marketed by the largest European and Worldwide home care companies.

- Partnership agreement(s) were signed with large European and Worldwide home care company(s) for the evaluation, customisation and small-scale production of Envirocaps.
- The financial, marketing and commercialisation plan with revenue stream and pricing were updated regularly.
- Long-Term Industrial Supply Agreements are currently under discussion.

WP 2 - Customised capsules performance demonstration and optimization

The objective of WP2 was to customise, evaluate and optimise Envirocaps products for introduction into laundry care products.

- Envirocaps were customised with customer-defined fragrance(s).
- Envirocaps with tested by customer(s).
- Envirocaps were cost-optimised and the performance and sustainability were validated.

WP 3 - Scale-up and industrial process development

The objective of WP3 was to build the process book for EnviroCaps production, and manufacture industrially representative samples of the Envirocaps products.

- The process book was defined
- Pilot-scale industrially representative samples were manufactured at the commercially compatible cost and quality.

WP 4 - Scale-up and industrial process development:

The objective of WP4 was to design a large volume production unit in accordance with the business plan and volume production.

- The basic engineering design of the large volume production unit was completed 3 months ahead of schedule.
- The complete engineering design of the large volume production unit was completed 4 months ahead of schedule.
- The detailed engineering and the construction of and implementation of the production unit was started 7 months ahead of schedule and successfully completed.

WP 5 - Communication and dissemination

The objective of WP 5 was to communicate on the application of the Envirocaps for the development of new generation and safe and sustainable home care products.

- A new website dedicated to Envirocaps was created
- A toolbox of new promotional material dedicated to Envirocaps was created, highlighting the support of the European Commission.
- The communication strategy action plan was developed, detailing both the creation of a new brand identity and web design, and the launch of a targeted digital communication strategy.
- Articles on Envirocaps were published in Les Echos, GazetteLabo, Le Parisien, and Les Emballages Magazine. Envirocaps was presented at a large number of events including ISGC, 2019, ChemSpec, 2019, SEPAWA Congress, 2019 and Village de la Chimie, 2020, SEPAWA Congress, 2020 and ChemSpec 2020.

WP 6 - Management and IP issues

The objective of WP6 was to ensure the achievements of the project’s general goals in terms of planned outputs, including IP issues.

- Project progression was monitored, tracked and supported through monthly meetings.
- A large number of new processes and committees have been introduced to manage health, safety and environment, including risk assessments and waste management.
- Recruitments were prepared and managed at the right time, quality and budget
- Reporting, administration and financial management was ongoing throughout the programme.
- A Freedom-to-Operate (FTO) analysis on the EnviroCaps technology was executed and no barrier for commercial exploitation was identified.
- New patents on Envirocaps were filed, and previous patents were extended globally.
Fragrance microcapsules are an important element of laundry care products. They selectively target the fragrance to fabrics during a wash cycle and then slowly deliver the fragrance on wear, providing a long-lasting olfactory effect.

The current state of the art is melamine formaldehyde (MF) microcapsules or polyurethane (PU) microcapsules. Both MF and PU microcapsules fall into the definition of non-biodegradable microplastics (plastic pieces of less than 5mm in diameter), and will be banned in Europe in 2024. Today, there is no microcapsule technology on the market that combines biodegradability with olfactory performance and stability in a laundry care product.

There is thus is a major pain point, how do we eliminate MF and PU capsules, and still retain the fragrance effects of laundry care products.

Calyxia offers the first solution for this urgent need with Envirocaps, a new formaldehyde-free, and readily biodegradable microcapsule technology, that exhibits both high olfactory performance and high formulation stability.

The Envirocaps technology is independatly evaluated to meet the OECD 301B readily-biodegradable standard, and the performance has been validated by end-customers. The large volume production unit will be on line at the end of the programme, ready for wide-spread commercial exploitation. Evirocaps will solve customers’ pain points, maintaining the olfactory effects of laundry care products, whilst decreasing the amount of non-biodegradable microplastics by 1000s tonnes, and reducing the associated health risks for the global population.