Milan, the former footballer who wants to revolutionize bioplastics


In 2008 the French footballer Mathieu Flamini he moved to Milan from Arsenal, where he had played for four years and established himself as a tough and elegant midfielder at the same time. At the same time, unbeknownst to his teammates in the San Siro locker room, he discreetly embarked on a new adventure.

Flamini, now 38, grew up in Marseille in the south of France. Although football was naturally his first passion, living near the sea increased his awareness of theimportance of sustainability: he looked at the plastic that was deposited on the coast and was inspired by the environmental activism of the famous explorer Jacques Cousteau.

A molecule with great potential

When he moved to Italy Flamini started meeting scientists and academics together with a friend, Pasquale Granata, looking for opportunities in the field of sustainability. Over time, the two have focused their attention on chemistry green “, founding GfBiochemicals.

The company’s main product is a molecule called levulinic acid: to understand how to mass produce it starting from agricultural waste products GfBiochemicals took a decade. Although it may seem a niche or even boring thing – undoubtedly a far cry from the traditional entrepreneurial activities of footballers, generally linked to nft and fashion brands – the company’s activity it could have a revolutionary impact. According to Flamini’s words, GfBiochemicals offers an alternative “of vegetable origin“to chemicals derived from petroleumwhich could be used in thousands of products, from paints to cosmetics.

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Flamini was recently appointed CEO of the company, which has secured an investment of fifteen million euros to bring its products from the laboratory to industry. Levulinic acid represents a kind of “platform” that it can be modified and adapted to the needs of different industrial sectors. GfBiochemicals has already filed nearly two hundred patents relating to plant-based solvents, polyols and plasticizers, all of which could replace substances extracted from fossil fuels that have toxic or non-biodegradable by-products.

Perfect timing

“In this period the chemical industry is undergoing a huge transition – explains Flamini -, and this transition is accelerated by two factors “. The first concerns the political level: theEuropean Union is introducing measures to limit thousands of harmful substances, prompting industries to replace them with greener options. The second factor is public awareness of the potentially harmful impact on ecosystems of chemicals that do not dissolve over time.

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